Experience of Childhood Abuse and Marital Relationships: A Qualitative Perspective of Victims and Professionals from Pakistan


  • Aliya Abdul Hayee, Dr. Anila Kamal


Childhood abuse, marital relationships, adult survivors, professional psychologists.


Early childhood experience imprints itself significantly on individual’s life. Pleasant experiences help in a healthy development, whereas traumatic events in one’s life cause physical, psychological and emotional lacunas in one’s personality. The present study aims at exploring such traumatic experiences of early childhood abuse along with its forms such as emotional, physical, sexual, and neglect from victim and professional perspective. It probes into the perception of these stakeholders to learn how childhood abuse experience affects the later life course. Methodologically, the study involves focus group discussions and interviews with the survivors, mental health professionals, and social activists working in the relevant domain. It analyses the collected data through Interpretative Phenomenological approach. Results revealed that childhood abuse experience is linked with adult pattern of intimate relationships and experiences. The experiences reported by the individuals show that they had fallen victim to more than one form of childhood abuse at a time in their early years. Moreover, in current years of life they face difficulties in interpersonal communication and understanding emotional cues. They also experience numbness, fear of losing partner on disclosure, and use of force in intimate situations. Some reported insecurity, disclosure difficulty, and acceptance of sexual abuse.