“Not understanding but feeling guilty at the same time”: The peritraumatic responses of CSA survivors from the Muslim Arab community in Israel

Afnan Attrash-Najjar, Carmit Katz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Studies on child sexual abuse (CSA) have greatly contributed to theoretical and empirical developments, advancing policy and practice. However, studies on CSA in closed societies are still scarce. Objective: The current study focuses on CSA in the Muslim Arab community in Israel while delving into the peritraumatic responses of survivors to CSA. Participants and setting: Twenty-eight Muslim Arab survivors of CSA provided written testimonies for an independent inquiry. Methods: The exploration of the Muslim Arab survivors' peritraumatic responses to CSA, according to their testimonies, was guided by an inductive thematic analysis and Braun and Clarke's (2006) six steps of analysis. Results: The results indicated that, as most of the abusive incidents were committed by an extended family member, the survivors experienced an inability to understand what had happened to them while simultaneously feeling guilt and self-blame. Furthermore, the survivors discussed feeling trapped by all of the systems and social expectations in their lives, leaving them feeling extremely lonely and with the understanding that seeking help and disclosing the abuse was not relevant for them. Conclusion: The discussion addresses the developments in the research on peritraumatic responses that require further examination. This includes top-down processes that might explain survivors' peritraumatic responses, which are not merely instinctual. In addition, when perpetrators are family members, survivors are expected to stay in contact with them, which demands enormous resources and survival strategies from the survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105945
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume134
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation2353/21

    Keywords

    • CSA
    • Muslim Arab community
    • Peritraumatic responses to CSA
    • Survival

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