This thesis examines the relationship between male and female adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse regarding five variables; betrayal, stigmatization, powerlessness, traumatic sexualization, and revictimization and perpetration. The differences between the men and the women will be explained by childhood socialization under the frame work of feminist, symbolic interactionist, and functionalist theories. Data were collected by interview and survey. The original data for the survey was collected by I. A. Lewis for the Los Angeles Times Poll in 1985. Participants included 1,145 men and 1,485 women, each of whom was interviewed over the phone for about one hour. Participants for the interviews were contacted through therapists. All of the interviews were conducted in New York State; ten were conducted in person at a location of the participants choice, and one interview was conducted over the phone. Survey results were found for three of the variables: betrayal, traumatic sexualization, and stigmatization. Interview results were found for all of the variables. Issues with each of the variables were dominant in both men's and women's lives. However, gender differences were found with each variable. Women were more likely to: feel betrayed by someone who should have protected them,: feel stigmatized because women should not have sex outside of marriage,: submit to men sexually, and have unhealthy attitudes about what sex should be,: relinquish power to others,: and were more likely to find themselves revictimized in future relationships. Most of these findings could be explained by childhood socialization. More in depth research needs to be done to determine how childhood socialization effects survivors based on their gender.


Fitz Gibbon, Heather


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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