Advertisement

Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 375–388 | Cite as

Sexual Abuse and the Christian Congregation: The Role of Gender in Pastoral Care for Victims

  • Lisa Rudolfsson
  • Inga Tidefors
  • Leif A. Strömwall
Article

Abstract

This study investigated the role of gender in the care for victims of sexual abuse within three Swedish Christian denominations. Questionnaires anchored by vignettes illustrating different abuse situations were answered by 421 clerics. The main findings were that female respondents apprehended the described situations as more likely to occur than male respondents did, and that levels of preparedness to offer pastoral care and belief in the likelihood of the situations to occur were higher when a female was the victim or a male was the perpetrator. Denominational differences were found concerning level of personal discomfort when hearing about the abuse.

Keywords

Victims of sexual abuse Pastoral care Gender differences Questionnaire study Anchoring vignettes 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by the Swedish Research Council.

References

  1. Andersen, T. H. (2009). Sårbar og sterk: Menn som har vært utsatt for seksuelle overgrep i oppveksten. En kvalitativ studie av sosiale og kulturelle faktorers innvirkning på virklighetsskapning og mestring [Vulnerable and strong: Men exposed to sexual abuse growing up. A qualitative study of social and cultural factors influencing reality construction and coping]. (Doctoral dissertation, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskaplige universitet, 2009).Google Scholar
  2. Anonymous, Pentecostal Church. (2005). Homosexualitet och kristen tro: Tro och livsstil, vägledning i det kristna livet [Homosexuality and Christian faith: Faith and life, guidance in Christian life]. Avesta: Libris.Google Scholar
  3. Bartoli, E., & Gillem, A. R. (2008). Continuing to depolarize the debate on sexual orientation and religion: identity and the therapeutic process. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39, 202–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Broussard, S., Wagner, W. G., & Kazelskis, R. (1991). Undergraduate students’ perceptions of child sexual abuse: The impact of victim sex, perpetrator sex, respondent sex, and victim response. Journal of Family Violence, 6, 267–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Browne, C., & Winkelman, C. (2007). The effect of childhood trauma on later psychological adjustment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 648–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Church of Sweden (2003). Codex Ethicus: Riktlinjer för tolkning av prästens vigningslöften, utarbetade och fastställda av biskop och prostmöte i Stockholm Stift 2003 [Codex Ethicus: Guidance for interpretation of vows of ordination compiled and established by the bishop and parson meeting in the diocese of Stockholm 2003]. Stockholm, Sweden: Svenska kyrkan.Google Scholar
  7. Church of Sweden (2009). Kyrkomötets protokoll 2009, 22–25 september och 20–23 oktober [Church meeting protocol 2009, September 22–25 and October 20–23]. http://www.svenskakyrkan.se.
  8. Church of Sweden. (2010). Codex Ethicus: För präster och diakoner i Strangnas stift [Codex Ethicus: For ministers and deacons in the diocese of Strangnas] (2010). Strangnas: Svenska kyrkan.Google Scholar
  9. Criminal Code (2005). [Brottsbalken] Chapter 6 § 1–5, electronic version www.notisum.se. Accessed 20 Apr. 2011.
  10. Cutajar, M. C., Mullen, P. E., Ogloff, J. R. P., Thomas, S. D., Wells, D. L., & Spataro, S. D. (2010). Psychopathology in a large cohort of sexually abused children followed up to 43 years. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34, 813–822.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DeMarinis, V. (2003). Pastoral care, existential health, and existential epidemiology: A Swedish postmodern case study. Stockholm: Verbum.Google Scholar
  12. Denov, M. S. (2004). The long-term effects of child sexual abuse by female perpetrators: a qualitative study of male and female victims. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19, 1137–1156.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Doyle, T. P. (2006). Clericalism: enabler of clergy sexual abuse. Pastoral Psychology, 54, 189–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dube, S. R., Anda, R. F., Whitfield, C. L., Brown, D. W., Felitti, V. J., Dong, M., et al. (2005). Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 430–438.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Edwards, W., & Hensley, C. (2001). Contextualizing sex offender management legislation and policy: evaluating the problem of latent consequences in community notification laws. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 45, 83–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ellison, C. G. (1991). Religious involvement and subjective well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 32, 80–99.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fortney, T., Levenson, L., Brannon, Y., & Baker, J. N. (2007). Myths and facts about sexual offenders: Implications for treatment and public policy. Sexual Offender Treatment, 2 (1), online issue.Google Scholar
  18. Galea, M. (2008). The impact of child abuse on the psycho-spiritual and religious status of Maltese college students. Pastoral Psychology, 57, 147–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gelius, E. (2010). Sex i bibelen [Sex in the Bible]. Oslo: Juritzen Forlag.Google Scholar
  20. Gill, M., & Tutty, L. M. (1997). Sexual identity issues for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse: a qualitative study. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 6, 31–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Glassgold, J. M., & Knapp, S. (2008). Ethical issues in screening clergy or candidates for religious professions for denominations that exclude homosexual clergy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39, 346–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gregersen, E. (1994). The world of human sexuality: Behaviors, customs and beliefs. New York: Irvington Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Hall, K. (2008). Childhood sexual abuse and adult sexual problems: a new view of assessment and treatment. Feminism & Psychology, 18, 546–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hegna, K., Mossige, S., & Wichstrom, L. (2004). Older adolescents’ positive attitudes towards younger adolescents as sexual partners. Adolescence, 39, 627–651.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Hetherton, J., & Beardsall, L. (1998). Decisions and attitudes concerning child sexual abuse: does the gender of the perpetrator make a difference to child protection professionals? Child Abuse & Neglect, 22, 1265–1283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jackson, H., & Nutall, R. (1994). Effects of gender, age and history of abuse on social workers’ judgment of sexual abuse allegations. Social Work Research, 18, 105–113.Google Scholar
  27. Kennedy, J. E., Davis, R. C., & Taylor, B. G. (1998). Changes in spirituality and well-being among victims of sexual assault. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37, 322–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lawson, R., & Drebing, C. (1998). The long term impact of child abuse on religious behavior and spirituality in men. Child Abuse & Neglect, 22, 369–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lupfer, M., Brock, K., & DePaola, S. (1992). The use of secular and religious attributions to explain everyday behavior. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 31, 486–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Montonye, M., & Calderone, S. (2010). Pastoral interventions and the influence of self-reporting: a preliminary analysis. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 19, 65–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nyman, A., Risberg, O., & Svensson, B. (2001). Unga förövare: Sexuella övergrepp och behandling [Young offenders: Sexual abuse and treatment]. Stockholm, Sweden: Rädda Barnen [Save the Children].Google Scholar
  32. O’Donohue, W., Smith, V., & Schewe, P. (1998). The credibility of child sexual abuse allegations: perpetrator gender and subject occupational status. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 10, 17–24.Google Scholar
  33. O’Leary, P. J., & Gould, N. (2010). Exploring coping factors amongst men who were sexually abused in childhood. British Journal of Social Work, 40, 2669–2686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Privette, G., Quackenbos, S., & Bundrick, C. (1994). Preferences for religious or nonreligious counseling and psychotherapy. Psychological Reports, 75, 539–546.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Romans, S. E., Martin, J. L., Anderson, J. C., O’Shea, M. L., & Mullen, P. E. (1995). Factors that mediate between child sexual abuse and adult psychological outcome. Psychological Medicine, 25, 127–142.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rotunda, R. J., & Penfold, M. (2004). Clergy response to domestic violence: a preliminary survey of clergy members, victims, and batterers. Pastoral Psychology, 52, 353–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rudolfsson, L., & Tidefors, I. (2009). Shepherd my sheep: clerical readiness to meet the psychological and existential needs of victims of sexual abuse. Journal of Pastoral Psychology, 58, 79–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Salomonsson, D., Westling, A.-C., Bjork, A., Lindeman, B., Erixon, B., Nilsson, C.-O., et al. (2005). Andliga ledare: Trons hemligheter, vägledning i den kristna trons grunder [Spiritual leaders: Secrets of faith, guidance in the foundations of Christian faith]. Stockholm: Libris.Google Scholar
  39. Shannon-Lewy, C., & Dull, V. T. (2005). The response of Christian clergy to domestic violence: help or hindrance? Aggression and Violent Behavior, 10, 647–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Songy, D. G. (2007). Psychological assessment of homosexual tendencies in potential candidates for the Roman Catholic priesthood. Pastoral Psychology, 56, 237–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Striepe, M. I., & Tolman, D. L. (2003). Mom, dad, I’m straight: the coming out of gender ideologies in adolescent sexual-identity development. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 4, 523–530.Google Scholar
  42. Tennfjord, O. S. (2006). Prediction of attitudes towards child sexual abuse among three different Norwegian samples. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 12, 245–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tidefors, I. A. (2002). Från barndom till brott: Om 20 män dömda för sexuella övergrepp mot barn [From childhood to crime: 20 men convicted of sexual abuse of 38 children]. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Gothenburg, 2002).Google Scholar
  44. Tidefors, I., & Drougge, M. (2006). The difficulties in understanding the role of sexuality in sexual abuse towards children: in-depth interviews with perpetrators. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being, 1, 178–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Young, J. S., Cashwell, C. S., & Scherbakova, J. (2000). The moderating relationship of spirituality on negative life events and psychological adjustment. Counseling and Values, 45, 49–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Rudolfsson
    • 1
  • Inga Tidefors
    • 1
  • Leif A. Strömwall
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

Personalised recommendations