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Voicing the silence: the maternity care experiences of women who were sexually abused in childhood

Voicing the silence: the maternity care experiences of women who were sexually abused in childhood
Voicing the silence: the maternity care experiences of women who were sexually abused in childhood
Childhood sexual abuse is a major, but hidden public health issue estimated to affect approximately 20% of females and 7% of males. As most women do not disclose to healthcare professionals, midwives may unwittingly care for women who have been sexually abused. The purpose of this study was to address the gap in our understanding of women’s maternity care experiences when they have a history of childhood sexual abuse with the aim of informing healthcare practice.

This narrative study from a feminist perspective, explored the maternity care experiences of women who were sexually abused in childhood. In-depth interviews with women, review of their maternity care records and individual and group interviews with maternity care professionals were conducted. The Voice-centred Relational Method (VCRM) was employed to analyse data from the in-depth interviews with women. Thematic analysis synthesised findings, translating the women’s narratives into a more readily accessible form. The main themes identified were: narratives of self, narratives of relationship, narratives of context and the childbirth journey. Medical records provided an additional narrative and data source providing an alternative perspective on the women’s stories. Silence emerged as a key concept in the narratives. This thesis contributes to ‘Voicing the silence’.

The particular contribution of the study is its focus on the women’s voices and the use and development of VCRM to listen to them. It highlights where those voices are absent and where they are not heard. Women want their distress to be noticed, even if they do not want to voice their silence. The challenge for those providing maternity care is to listen and respond to their unspoken messages and to hear and receive their spoken ones with sensitivity.
Montgomery, E.
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Montgomery, E.
e06b6df2-1a2e-4fe4-8bad-6f9c5ed56758
Pope, Catherine
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Rogers, J.
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Montgomery, E. (2012) Voicing the silence: the maternity care experiences of women who were sexually abused in childhood. University of Southampton, Faculty of Health Sciences, Doctoral Thesis, 323pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Childhood sexual abuse is a major, but hidden public health issue estimated to affect approximately 20% of females and 7% of males. As most women do not disclose to healthcare professionals, midwives may unwittingly care for women who have been sexually abused. The purpose of this study was to address the gap in our understanding of women’s maternity care experiences when they have a history of childhood sexual abuse with the aim of informing healthcare practice.

This narrative study from a feminist perspective, explored the maternity care experiences of women who were sexually abused in childhood. In-depth interviews with women, review of their maternity care records and individual and group interviews with maternity care professionals were conducted. The Voice-centred Relational Method (VCRM) was employed to analyse data from the in-depth interviews with women. Thematic analysis synthesised findings, translating the women’s narratives into a more readily accessible form. The main themes identified were: narratives of self, narratives of relationship, narratives of context and the childbirth journey. Medical records provided an additional narrative and data source providing an alternative perspective on the women’s stories. Silence emerged as a key concept in the narratives. This thesis contributes to ‘Voicing the silence’.

The particular contribution of the study is its focus on the women’s voices and the use and development of VCRM to listen to them. It highlights where those voices are absent and where they are not heard. Women want their distress to be noticed, even if they do not want to voice their silence. The challenge for those providing maternity care is to listen and respond to their unspoken messages and to hear and receive their spoken ones with sensitivity.

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More information

Published date: October 2012
Organisations: University of Southampton, Faculty of Health Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 349089
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/349089
PURE UUID: 3496c451-d55a-4cb2-8c4a-22122b168f22
ORCID for Catherine Pope: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8935-6702

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Mar 2013 14:19
Last modified: 24 May 2019 00:35

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Contributors

Author: E. Montgomery
Thesis advisor: Catherine Pope ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: J. Rogers

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