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God and the VictimTraumatic Intrusions on Grace, and Freedom$
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Jennifer Erin Beste

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195311099

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311099.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 October 2020

 The Vulnerable Self and Loss of Agency

 The Vulnerable Self and Loss of Agency

Trauma Theory and the Challenge to a Rahnerian Theology of Freedom and Grace

(p.37) 3 The Vulnerable Self and Loss of Agency
God and the Victim

Jennifer Erin Beste (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the impact of severe trauma on persons' selfhood, capacity for relationality, and freedom for self‐determination. To address the complex effects of trauma on the sense of self and capacity for freedom, this book focuses on women survivors who experienced severe incestuous trauma as young girls. It examines incest survivors’ posttraumatic stress systems, focusing in particular on how their behavior attempts to reenact the trauma severely compromises their sense of self and their agency. Incestuous abuse also damages survivors' ability to develop trusting, intimate relationships with others and God. Many incest victims frequently report, in comparison to nonabused women, experiencing more anger, shame, and feelings of distance toward God. While more research is needed, it is reasonable to take seriously the possibility that severe trauma such as incestuous abuse can negatively impede and perhaps destroy a person's ability to relate to God and neighbor with faith, trust, and love.

Keywords:   trauma, incestuous abuse, posttraumatic stress, reenactments, self‐destructive, self‐concept, agency, relation to God

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