Sexual abuse profoundly affects survivors to the extent that they are unable to maintain previously held viewpoints or ways of being, including those relating to their spirituality. Certainly the experience has considerable potential to complicate the spiritual lives of survivors. For Christian survivors, this may include how they perceive and relate to both themselves and God as well as affect participation in sacraments such as eucharist and reconciliation. Spiritual traditions often promote the embracing of silence, but this may be problematic for survivors who have been silenced and unable to give expression to their experiences. Similarly, socialization resulting in beliefs that Christians should always forgive and/or never be angry needs to be overcome. While negotiating these pitfalls may result in explorations of spirituality being even less straightforward for survivors of sexual abuse than it is for others, a transformative spirituality within a Christian framework can be realized.
Field of Research
220401 Christian Studies (incl Biblical Studies and Church History)