Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To keep track of most cited articles…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

You can always keep track of the Most Cited Journal Articles on PEP Web by checking the PEP Section found on the homepage.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Diamond, N. (1992). Sexual abuse: the bodily aftermath. Free Associations, 3(1):71-83.

(1992). Free Associations, 3(1):71-83

Clinical Paper

Sexual abuse: the bodily aftermath

Nicola Diamond

Sexual abuse is an attack on the body, not only a physical assault, for it also leaves emotional and symbolic bodily scars. Whereas the physical injury is linked to the sexual act as such, and is liable to heal over time, the symbolic wounding can live on as a bodily experience, well after the event, often appearing later, after a period of delay. Our case example, derived from individual work I undertook with a sexually abused boy, will illustrate how the body enacts symbolic meanings (and disturbances therein) — via the formation of somatic symptoms.

In order to think about the bodily form the symptom takes and the body's specific relationship to symbolization, the explanatory framework employed will extend beyond a psychoanalytic account, to embrace the work of the philosopher and phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty. For Merleau-Ponty is the philosopher who challenges the traditional dualistic distinction between the mind and the body. Merleau-Ponty's arguments will be used to question the dualistic division between mind and body which has been carried over into psychoanalytic thinking, which continues to be hindered by the unhappy marriage between Freud's neurophysiological, medical background and his discovery of psychic life.

When Freud writes of the ‘mysterious leap’ (1916-17, p.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.