A proposed support strategy for sexually abused boys in their middle childhood placed in a clinic school
Boys in their middle childhood placed in clinic schools experience severe emotional and behavioural problems. Most of these boys have been sexually abused. The trauma of this sexual abuse may contribute to their problem behaviour. If the learners can be effectively supported in addressing the trauma of the male child sexual abuse during their time at the clinic school, some of their emotional and behavioural problems may also be addressed. Without these emotional and behavioural problems they may be able to develop without hindrance of the male child sexual abuse and may be integrated into the mainstream educational setting before they reach the age of twelve years. This study consisted of three phases. During the first phase the experiences of seven sexually abused boys placed in clinic schools in Gauteng Province in South Africa were explored in order to develop a better understanding of their support needs. It was achieved by means of three in-depth interviews with each participant. For the purpose of the first phase a qualitative design was used, which was of a phenomenological, descriptive and exploratory nature in order to explore and describe the phenomenon of male child sexual abuse. To obtain a clear picture of the unique view and subjective experiences of a participant in a clinic school, the phenomenon of male child sexual abuse was investigated. From the results it was clear that sexually abused boys placed in clinic schools exhibit intensified emotional reactions, as well as certain problems associated with male child sexual abuse. The intensified emotional reactions include a deep sense of sadness and helplessness, a sense of guilt and shame, a sense of dissociation and numbness, avoidance of situations associated with male child sexual abuse, fear of recurring incidents and the re-experiencing of the trauma. The problems associated with male child sexual abuse include concerns regarding their own sexuality, difficulties in interacting with other people, dealing with anger and aggression, displaying self-destructive behaviour and difficulties to cope with schoolwork. During the second phase of the study twenty-four psychologists, social workers, counsellors, teachers and child and youth care workers were included. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with each of them to identify critical aspects to support victims of male child sexual abuse. For the purpose of the second phase the interpretive descriptive design was used. The results suggest that the following critical aspects should be considered in the conceptualisation of a proposed support strategy: Relationships as basis for support; strengthening the male child sexual abuse victims to deal with behavioural and emotional challenges; facilitating the safety of the male child sexual abuse victims to avoid continued exposure to abuse; providing a structured environment and coordinated support efforts to ensure sustainability. The third phase of this study consisted of the conceptualisation of a support strategy for male child sexual abuse victims. Two focus groups were conducted with fourteen psychologists, social workers, counsellors, teachers and child and youth care workers to conceptualise the support strategy. The proposed support strategy suggests the incorporation of different role players in a collaborative team approach for a multilevel support approach. The proposed support strategy involves three main facets, namely strengthening of the male child sexual abuse victim as an individual, sustaining a deep/trusting relationship, as well as the facilitation of a supportive context for the male child sexual abuse victim.
- Humanities