Abuse Victims and High-Profile Offenders: A Discourse Analysis of Victim Construction and Adult Mental Health

  • Naima Fowlis
  • Michelle O’Reilly
  • Mary Farrelly


When individuals are sexually abused in their childhood, it can have a long-lasting effect on their well-being and mental health. Child sexual abuse has been at the root of many scandals globally, many of which have been exposed by the media. This form of abuse of children is a widespread issue that affects children of all ages, and their socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds (Modelli, Galvão, & Pratesi, 2012), and is carried well into and throughout their adult years. Consequently, the impact of being a child victim of sexual abuse has attracted a great deal of media attention and there is now a broad research literature examining these issues. In this chapter, we focus on how traumatic incidents in childhood can have a significant impact on adults who were childhood victims of sexual abuse. Specifically, we examine this phenomenon in the context of celebrity abusers, to examine how media spotlight on such high-profile cases creates an additional layer of complexity in relation to the discourse of blaming victims and mental health construction of the now adult individuals.


Mental Health Sexual Abuse Mental Health Problem Child Abuse Child Sexual Abuse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Recommended reading

  1. • Bussey, K., & Grimbeek, E. J. (2006). Disclosure processes: Issues for child sexual abuse victims. In K. Rotenberg (Ed.), Disclosure processes in children and adolescents (pp. 166–203). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Naima Fowlis, Michelle O’Reilly, and Mary Farrelly 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naima Fowlis
  • Michelle O’Reilly
  • Mary Farrelly

There are no affiliations available

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