Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Social Sciences Honours


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Lekkie Hopkins

Second Advisor

David Palmer


This research comes as a response to young people's concern about the availability of appropriate services for young people seeking assistance in reclaiming their lives after experiencing sexual abuse and/or sexual assault. In order to understand what young people felt were appropriate services, it was first necessary to understand what happened when they disclosed to someone that they had been sexually abused or sexually assaulted. Qualitative feminist interview research techniques were used to ask seven young women "What happened when you disclosed to someone you had been sexually abused/assaulted?" The information given by the young women revealed that: the pre-disclosure stage had an important influence on the effects of a disclosure; emotional turmoil often followed a disclosure: betrayal and re-victimisation by family, friends and systems was a common occurrence; professional workers often displayed a lack of understanding and sensitivity; the young women showed strong determination and courage and; disclosure is a process of discovery and reclaiming your life. To expose the reader to the intimacy of the disclosure process, the dialogues from the young women are used extensively throughout. The study also includes reflections on being involved in such a study from b0th participant and researcher viewpoints.