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Retrieving and Constructing Memory: The Use of Creative Writing by Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse

By Pam Green Lister

Abstract

Memory is our means of the constructing the past and present and constructing a\ud self and versions of experience we can live with, to doubt is to doubt ourselves,\ud yet doubt we must for it is treacherous (Greene, 1991, p.293)\ud This chapter draws on my research into women survivors’ use of creating\ud writing in which I found that women survivors used writing broadly to break\ud silence, as therapy and as autobiography. Its focus is on the exploration of\ud memory through writing, one element in the process undertaken by women\ud survivors to create an autobiography. Memory loss and retrieval have been\ud core concerns of survivors and therapists working in the field of sexual abuse.\ud Exploring memory is a central theme in the writings of survivors. However\ud there are feminist critical concerns that survivors’ accounts of abuse adopt an\ud unreflexive approach to memory. In the light of the debates about the way\ud memory is conceptualised in survivors’ accounts, I will explore how one\ud woman in my study described her use of writing to retrieve memory and\ud construct a chronology of her childhood

Topics: HQ, H1, BF
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
Year: 2002
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:5130

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