Book cover for Spiritual Healing From Sexual Violence, edited by Debra Meyers and Mary Sue Barnett
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Deconstruction and Reclamation: A Black Woman’s Healing Journey

An abstract of Dr. William’s essay and part of a series of essays in the new book, Spiritual Healing from Sexual Violence: An Intersectional Guide.

Annette Williams, Ph.D. May 6, 2023

Editor’s Note: The following is an abstract of Dr. William’s essay, Deconstruction and Reclamation: A Black Woman’s Healing Journey, part of a series of essays in a new book, Spiritual Healing from Sexual Violence: An Intersectional Guide published by Routledge Publishers (May, 2023).

Self-identity and its formation shape the broad query underlying this exploration, while the specific area of focus is childhood sexual abuse and its impact upon one’s sense of self and one’s sense of agency. This exploration strives to understand contributing factors to the perpetration of childhood sexual abuse.

The first half of the exploration is an examination of concomitant contributors to childhood sexual abuse. This includes investigating the theological ground from which modern dysfunctional views of sexuality sprouted, the socio-historical and cultural determinants of the way Black women’s sexuality is commonly perceived, and the dynamics behind internalization.

The second half of the exploration details my personal journey and process of reclamation and employs the heuristic research paradigm developed by Clark Moustakas. An earth-based spiritual tradition rooted in Africa and premised on respect for all life is at the center of my healing journey. Dreams are the journey’s epistemological core.


About Dr. Williams

Annette Williams, Ph.D. is Associate Professor and Chair of the Women’s Spirituality Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She holds a doctorate in Philosophy and Religion with specialization in Women’s Spirituality and received her M.A. from Regis University and her B.A. from the State University of New York at Brockport. Dr. William’s research interests have centered on soul healing from sexual trauma, and the theme of women’s spiritual power and agency within the Yorùbá Ifá tradition, with specific reference to the primordial feminine authority of àjẹ́. A recent offering is “Wisdom of the Primordial Feminine, Wisdom of Women: Odù Ifá and Yoruba Religious Tradition,” in Philo-Sophia: Wisdom Goddess Traditions, edited by Debashish Banerji and Robert McDermott.