Using narrative analysis to inform about female and male sexual victimization

Jennifer O’Mahoney, Irina Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Personal stories often occupy an ambivalent place between social hegemony and social change. In personal stories of sexual assault, this ambivalent place can be particularly charged when the narrator’s story is contested or resisted by the listener. Stories of sexual assault can reflect dominant victim discourses, while simultaneously resisting the role of victim as a survivor works to organize and frame a trauma experience. Dominant cultural narratives of victimhood often reflect hegemonic discourses, which restrict coping by providing a narrow victim framework for a survivor of sexual assault. However, this ambivalent place between a narrowly defined victimhood and social change can also provide opportunity for survivors to resist these narrow narrative confines and progress through the trauma. This chapter will analyze personal stories of sexual assault and focus on how survivors’ constructions of self are challenged and fractious as a result of sexual assault. Examples of how the narrators resist the dominant victim narrative to move toward personal and social change in their coping will be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStories Changing Lives
Subtitle of host publicationNarratives and Paths toward Social Change
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9780190864750
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2020


  • Coping
  • Narratives
  • Resistance
  • Sexual assault
  • Victimhood


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