Why Sexual Abuse? Why Now?

Published: Monday 8th September 2014

Professor Shurlee Swain, Faculty of Education and Arts, will be presenting her findings on child abuse at the School of Arts Research Seminar, Wednesday 17 September 2014 at 12 noon. 


Professor Swain has done extensive research on the emergence of inquiries into institutional abuse and the process by which child sexual abuse became dominant.


“By the end of the twentieth century the focus of inquiries into institutional abuse had narrowed, with sexual abuse identified as the archetypal transgression of childhood innocence. 


This paper traces the process by which child sexual abuse became so dominant, a process made possible by the emergence of a language through which survivors could describe their experiences. 


The narrower focus allows governments to embrace actions which promise a 'solution' to the 'problem', this 'solution' threatens to silence that much larger proportion of care leavers who experienced other forms of institutional abuse, diverting attention from the more pressing question of why such abuse was endemic. 


By elevating the concept of childhood innocence, the focus on sexual abuse also introduces new silences around childhood sexuality”. Extract from Professor Shurlee Swain's abstract for research paper 'Why Sexual Abuse? Why Now?'


This seminar is open to all staff and HDR students at the following locations:


  • Level 5 - Video Conference Room 5.30 (Melbourne)
  • Meeting Room 5.03 (Ballarat)
  • Meeting Room AC.22 (Brisbane)
  • Meeting Room 1.10 (Canberra)
  • Meeting Room Level 16 (North Sydney)
  • Meeting Room VC Room 2.45 (Strathfield) 

For more information please contact Mark.Chou@acu.edu.au.