Exposing the Culture of Silence: Inhibiting Factors in the Prevention, Treatment, and Mitigation of Sexual Abuse in the Eastern Caribbean.
Jeremiah, Rohan D. Quinn, Camille R. Alexis, Jicinta M.
Published: April 2017
Child Abuse and Neglect
Vol. 66 , p. 53-63
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This article features a study that explored the presence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including childhood sexual abuse and neglect, among women associated with Partnership for Peace (PfP), the first and only culturally adapted domestic violence diversion program for men in the Eastern Caribbean. Within a multiyear evaluative study that assessed the impact of the PfP intervention in reducing domestic violence in Grenada in the West Indies, life-history interviews were collected from a subsample of women (N = 9) associated with men enrolled in the PfP program between 2009 and 2011. We found that the exposure to sexual abuse and neglect during childhood was evident in the histories of the women. Most perpetrators were trusted family or community members who suffered from a common set of behavioral patterns, most prominently alcohol use. Our findings reflect an evidence-based connection, as one causative factor, of a culture of silence that is related to child sexual abuse and its management. The apparent lasting effects of these traumatic childhood exposures reflect cycles of abuse in the life histories collected during the domestic violence evaluation study. Our study identified three key structural deficiencies (insufficient research, ineffective policy, and lack of public-health interventions) and one embedded cultural norm (the culture of silence) that together “inhibit current attempts to address ACEs as a means of curbing domestic violence in the Caribbean.” (Author abstract)
childhood trauma; child abuse; sexual abuse; child neglect; Spouse abuse; barriers; child abuse reporting; disclosure; revictimization; perpetrators; alcohol abuse