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JSWEC

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

23/07/2014

This paper is a thematic analysis of personal accounts of child sexual exploitation. It explores the ways, in which the victims’ stories are constructed and presented so that they fit within a very clear and familiar narrative. In this narrative, the victims are lured away from an idealised family environment but are ultimately rescued and survive. In the last decade, there has been a sharp rise in published memoirs, which are accounts, usually, but not exclusively from young women, of the most appalling acts of sexual violence. Many have featured in bestseller lists and are easily accessible to students, giving ‘voice’ to the now adult author’s accounts of their childhood. In some cases the public appetite for such accounts, when linked to a high profile news story, has substantially reduced the timescale between the abusive incidents and the narrative account. For example, Girl A: My Story is subtitled and marketed as “The true story of the Rochdale sex ring by the victim who stopped them.” The Rochdale child sexual exploitation case concluded in May 2012 and the book published in 2013. In the wake of the media attention on Rochdale, a further account of child sexual exploitation Stolen Girl (2013) was published and an earlier account The Day My World Ended (2010) was updated and published under the new title Exploited (2012). This paper begins with a thematic analysis of these accounts and explores the ways, in which the victims’ stories are constructed and presented so that they fit within a very clear and familiar narrative. In this narrative, the victims are lured away from an idealised family environment but are ultimately rescued and survive. These memoirs are often highly critical of social workers who are presented as naive or indifferent to the abuse that occurred. This construction of social work has featured in popular media reporting of child sexual exploitation and grooming cases. Despite the difficulties and limitations of these memoirs, this paper will argue they contain important messages for social work practitioners, and provide potential as teaching tools in these difficult and challenging practice areas.

Event (Conference)

TitleJSWEC
Date23/07/1425/07/14
Location
CityLondon
CountryUnited Kingdom