Chapter 14 Engaging Trauma Resulting from Sexual Violence through Autoethnography and Photovoice

In: Topography of Trauma: Fissures, Disruptions and Transfigurations
M. Candace Christensen
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This chapter illustrates how I use an autoethnographic lens and photovoice research methods. These methods act as a tool to engage trauma I experienced resulting from sexual violence. Autoethnography methodology situates the researcher as both the investigator and subject of a given project. As the subject, the researcher reflects on and documents their experience of a specific phenomenon (e.g., sexual violence). The outcome is to create a story-like narrative that shows the researcher’s unique point of view and connects this expertise to wider cultural understandings of the topic. Photovoice is a community based participatory research method that engages community members in taking photographs to illustrate community problems and potential solutions to these problems. Photovoice is not intended to address individual issues like trauma. However, in this chapter, I demonstrate how an autoethnographic approach to photovoice could be used to engage trauma using concepts from Briere and Scott’s basic philosophical approach to trauma treatment. Through this framework, I examine how autoethnography and photovoice foster the intrinsic processing of trauma and cultivate a hopeful outlook on being present with the trauma. The chapter begins with a presentation of my photovoice project. Next, I describe the concepts and methods involved with autoethnography and photovoice. The third section is comprised of a scientific context for sexual violence and trauma. After which I link Briere and Scott’s articulation of intrinsic processing and hope to an autoethnographic approach to photovoice methods. I end the chapter by demonstrating how my photovoice project promotes the intrinsic processing of trauma and generates hope.

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