Redefining female sexuality

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Woytkiw, Lee
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In this thesis a closed sexuality group program for sexual abuse survivors was developed from a complex definition of sexuality and evaluated. This thesis explores: the salient factors that influenced sexuality for this particular group of women and the impact that the group experience had on the participants' definition of sexuality. The understanding of sexuality used for this thesis is as follows: the development of and expression of sexuality/sexual identity are determined by the context in which the individual lives. Context encompasses both the environment in which the individual lives and the experiences the individual has. Eight women were interviewed between two and three times. Eight women were interviewed pre and post intervention and six women agreed to be interviewed at a three month follow up point. The women were also asked to fill out the Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale at pre, post and follow up points of the study. All eight women had experienced childhood sexual abuse, and were currently receiving counselling at Women's Post Treatment Centre. Purposeful, non-random sampling was used to recruit participants in the study. This study used a case study approach with qualitative data and AB single case designs. The primary data analysis was qualitative, which used triangulation of quantitative data for confirmation of the findings. The findings from the study suggest that the participants benefitted from participating in the group and were able to make varying degrees of shifts in their understanding of sexuality. Most of the participants reported negative associations with the construct of sexuality and confusion about what sexuality meant at the beginning of the study. At the end of the study these participants had constricted an affirming understanding of sexuality and increased confidence in stating their feelings and thoughts in other aspects of their lives. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)