"It was time to put the trauma aside" : how Cuban-American women cope with sexual assault
The existent research regarding sexual assault experiences within the Latinx population fails to distinguish between the various ethnic groups that make up this category, which homogenizes a very diverse population, whose cultural beliefs and experiences vary greatly. Thus, the current study used a constructivist paradigm to understand the lived experiences of Cuban-American women survivors of sexual assault from their perspectives by using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach. Participants were 5 Cuban-American women who self-identified as survivors of sexual assault, spoke Spanish fluently, and lived in Cuban enclaves in the U.S. From the semi-structured interviews conducted, 5 themes emerged:
- Violent nature of experiences and emotional impact on the participants; 2) Perceptions of rape through cultural and personal lenses; 3) Importance of family support and its utilization in times of crisis; 4) Factors impacting their decision to share, such as the impact or purpose of their disclosure on others; and 5) Use of active and passive coping strategies in tandem as a way to exert control over healing process. The findings provided new insights with regards to the impact of culture on posttraumatic growth. Additionally, areas in which Cuban-American women differ from other Latinx subgroups with regards to disclosure of sexual assault experiences were also identified. Implications for clinical practice and further research were discussed.