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Society’s complicity in child abuse: From justifications to acknowledgement to authentic transformations.

Rogers, Katrina
June 4, 2015

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)


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