Cultural norms versus state law in treating incest: a suggested model for Arab families
Fiche mise à jour le 23 octobre 2020
This article examines problems of intervention in sexual abuse cases among collective societies and offers a culturally sensitive model of intervention.
The manuscript is based on cross-cultural literature and clinical cases within the Palestinian community in Israel.
Unlike Western societies in which the state takes responsibility for the needs of its citizens and has laws that aim to protect victims of sexual abuse and to punish the perpetrators, in many collective societies people live in interdependence with their families. The family, rather than the state, is the main provider and protector. Enforcing the laws against sexual perpetrators, typically, threatens the unity and reputation of the family, and therefore this option is rejected and the family turns against the victim. Instead of punishing the perpetrator, families often protect him and blame the victim for the resulting mess. The punishment of the abuser results in the re-victimization of the abused since the family possesses supreme authority. We suggest a culturally sensitive model of intervention that includes six stages: (1) verification of information, (2) mapping the family, (3) bonding with progressive forces, (4) a condemning, apologizing, and punishing ceremony, (5) treatment, and (6) follow-up.
Culturally sensitive intervention that exploits the power of the family for the benefit of the victim of abuse before enforcing the law, may achieve the same legal objectives as state intervention, without threatening the reputation and the unity of the family, and may therefore save the victim from harm.Mots clés SantéPsy :