Identity Confusion After Child Abuse Essay

806 words - 4 pages

In the South, a person’s identity is a critical factor in determining who he or she is as a person as well as their part in society, much like in the novel Bastard out of Carolina. To understand a person’s identity, Thompson and Walsh gave the definition of a “fluid process” rather than a person’s “fixed” personality (380). Therefore, identity is self-based on choices people make as well as what they go through. Identity also evolves as people mature while numerous factors affect a person’s identity. It is through this novel that the readers will understand how the affects of sexual child abuse force children to negatively alter their identity based on a traumatic experience.
Child sexual abuse is defined as “the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared, or else that violates the laws or social taboos of society” (Ajduković, Sušac, and Rajter 470). In Bastard out of Carolina, Ruth Ann “Bone” Boatwright started experiencing sexual child abuse from her stepfather at the age of twelve, which changed aspects of her life forever. Coincidentally, it was proven through research that young girls between the ages of 13 and 16 suffered sexual abuse by adult men that they knew previously (Ajduković, Sušac, and Rajter 475). While it could be a family member, an acquaintance, or a friend, the feelings of betrayal remain the same.
As stated by Collin-Vézina, Daigneault, and Hébert, being abused by an identifiable person not only includes the loss of trust in that person who abused the relationship, but it also includes other adults who may have knew of the abuse and did not provide safety precautions to protect the child (4). In Bone’s case, being betrayed by her own stepfather was one of the biggest influences that altered her identity. As a child, Bone was told they were a happy family. However, that was not the case as Glen used his “fatherly figure” image to take advantage of her. And sadly enough, some research even proves this. According to McLaren, some men intentionally marry women with children to sexually abuse them, a strategy that ensures the wife will love, honor, obey, and most importantly be blinded by the notion of sexual child abuse...

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