Conversing with ‘monsters’? Narratives about men who sexually abuse(d) children
Young-Hauser, A. M. (2010). Conversing with ‘monsters’? Narratives about men who sexually abuse(d) children (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4450
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4450
This research has examined multiperspectival narratives told about and by men who sexually abuse(d) children. Drawing on institutional, public and private narratives, I have explored how men who sexually abuse(d) children are characterised, how meanings about these men are created, and how their reintegrative prospects are understood. The project has encompassed five research elements: historical narratives evident in archival materials; media narratives evident in news articles; public discourse reflected in five focus groups; the accounts of support people of men who sexually abused reflected in one focus group; and the stories of ten men imprisoned for sexually abusing children elicited through pre-release and post-release conversations. These multiple levels of narration have allowed me to look within and across these settings to establish links and to demarcate points of convergence and departure of these diverse narratives. Results have suggested a mismatch between narratives about men who offend(ed) with those evident in the stories of support persons and the men themselves. The latter are anchored in, but contest the former; in particular the narrow representations of these men as inherently evil and not rehabilitatable. Subtle disruptions that question commonly held assumptions about men who sexually abuse(d) children and tell of alternative possibilities are evident in some narratives. My research shows that narratives can accumulate and reinforce assumptions over time and in many respects be discriminatory and exclusionary as well as being liberatory, enveloped in healing and open to change. By locating these men in their social environment and contextualising the crime, I examine the issues of child sex abuse from various angles. This research offers a more inclusive perspective on men who offend(ed) against children that can contribute to broadening public dialogue regarding the characterizations of these men, issues of community reintegration and repairing people’s lives.
University of Waikato
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