Source: (2010) Dissertation. Doctor of Philosophy. Fielding Graduate University.

Child abuse is not simply a matter between individuals. Society also plays a role in exacerbating children’s vulnerability to abuse. This dissertation offers a theory of society’s complicity in child abuse. Evaluating the forces that promote dualistic, hierarchical concepts of adult and child reveals how these forces increase the probability and provide the justifications for the inexorability of child abuse. The power of dialogue is presented as a means to acknowledge the domination of children and to create transformational theories for healthier relational and social practices. The author’s personal narrative illustrates that the ways in which stories are heard, denied, and responded to, unwittingly contribute to the perpetuation of child abuse. This textual, narrative, dialogic, and theoretical inquiry, revealed the following as key features that sustain society’s complicity in child abuse: individual and structural uses of power over others; denial, avoidance, objectification, and distancing; fears and obsessions; and the lack of appropriate, healing responses to stories of abuse. The dissertation concludes with ways to move beyond these abusive forces in order to facilitate healthier, more mutually respectful personal and societal transformations. (author's abstract)