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Ripples of Betrayal: A Voice-Centred Relational Inquiry into Acquaintance Sexual Assault
Danielle B Palmer (author)Janelle Kwee (thesis supervisor)Mihaela Launeanu (second reader)Allyson Jule (external examiner)Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
By adopting a relational ontology, the present study challenges traditional approaches to psychological theory, research and practice. This complementary lens was used to explore women’s experiences of harm and healing in the context of acquaintance sexual assault. Six women participated in interviews using sandtrays, and the Listening Guide (Brown & Gilligan, 1992) was used to analyze transcripts. Voices of harm constricted participants’ experiences of being connected to themselves, others and the world, and consisted of denial, confusion, judgment, isolation and separation. Voices of healing emerged as expansive processes, identified as acknowledgment, knowing, acceptance, accompaniment and empowerment. These findings broaden current understandings of sexual assault, trauma and betrayal, and better equip counsellors, social supports, communities and cultures, to dismantle relational processes that stagnate survivors and promote those that foster growth.
Acquaintance rapePsychic trauma.Sexual abuse victims.