Rape: The Bringer of Gains … and Losses

Richardson, Cynthia A. (2010) Rape: The Bringer of Gains … and Losses. ["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined] thesis, Buckinghamshire New University.

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A qualitative study exploring the changes made by twenty-one women in the aftermath of a rape experience that they considered to be positive in their recovery. The women were white, mainly middle-class and aged between fourteen and 59 at the time of the rape which occurred between three weeks and forty-five years before recruitment into this study. Recruitment strategies included placing an ‘advertorial’ on rape supportive websites and appropriately positioning posters on a university campus. Single ‘guided conversations’ were conducted face-to-face or via the telephone and lasted between forty minutes and three and a half hours. Three were also conducted via e-mail but extended over a two to three month period. These interviews explored negative trauma symptoms and various societal moderators such as family, friends and the Criminal Justice System that are not only known to impact upon recovery but some are also deemed to be influential in Posttraumatic Growth (PTG). PTG argues growth occurs as a result of the individual’s struggle in the aftermath of a trauma and not as a result of the trauma itself. Comparisons were subsequently drawn between PTG and Rape Trauma Syndrome where similarities were discovered that question whether PTG is a coping process; a contention which the authors dispute. The discrepancies found family and friends are more often rejecting and not the deemed facilitators of growth; and religion, a domain of growth, was afflicted similarly and negatively impacted recovery. Thematic analysis substantiated both others’ negative reactions and also negative emotions such as guilt, self-blame and shame that are commonly experienced by women post-rape. Such negative emotions were found to be adaptive and motivated eleven women to go on to ‘help others’. Whilst PTG acknowledges pro-social behaviour to be an indicator of ‘growth’ such negative emotions are considered a ‘sticking point’ to achieving growth where empathy is the considered motivator which this study concurs for three other women. Other positive changes are discussed that concur with PTG but raise questions of validity. Validity of ‘growth’ remains a research issue where behavioural measures are now considered important, and where specifically the growth area ‘helping others’ has been neglected. This study’s contribution has extended our knowledge of this pro-social behaviour and its impact on recovery after rape. Suggestions are also made that may assist women in their search for post-rape help where the use of email here has potential to lead to such practical help.

Item Type: Thesis (["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined])
Divisions: ?? BucksNewUniversity ??
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2015 08:32
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2017 19:19
URI: https://bnu.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/9714

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