An Investigation Of The Lexical Difficulty In Narrating The Sexual Abuse Experience By The Underage Occupants Of A Selected Shelter Home
AbstractThe research has been inspired by the ratifying of Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2017 by Parliament on 4 April 2017. The bill has been formulated to protect anyone under 18 years of age from sexual abuse, and addresses among others child pornography, sexual harassment and grooming. With the introduction of the bill, it is foreseen that child sexual abuse cases that are on trial could be resolved within a year. This study is anchored in the belief that language and law cannot be separated and due to the grueling court procedure, language is ubiquitous when the victim is pressed to construct from memory the abusive experience. This is the reason personal event narratives – stories that should include relevant details and some evaluative statements that relate to what makes the story worth sharing – are the focus of the present research. Therefore, the objective of this research is to identify the underage sexual victims’ lexical problems in producing cohesive and coherent personal event narratives of the abusive experience. The research participants are sexual abuse victims between 12 and 17 years of age who are seeking shelter at a government-initiated welfare home. In depth interviews had been employed and the findings analysed using thematic analysis. It can be surmised from the findings that all victims have indicated no serious lexical challenges but the victims’ age and psychology are detrimental factors to the six aspects of personal event narratives, particularly the informativeness criterion.
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