'Alice Edwards' interviewed by Catherine Itzin
The woman whose experiences of child sexual abuse and its effects is the subject of this chapter was selected from a sample of 132 women who, in response to a television documentary on pornography in 1992 in the UK, contacted a helpline for people who felt they had been harmed by pornography, a number of whom agreed to participate in a pilot study researching their experience of pornography-related harm. 'Alice Edwards' (a pseudonym) was aged fifty-three at the time of the first interview in December 1994. Subsequent interviews were conducted in July 1995, August 1996 and April 1997. Each additional interview has produced new disclosures and also new developments in the story of her experience, in the form of events which have taken place during the period of lapsed time between interviews as well as elaborations at a level of detail on the accounts obtained on earlier occasions.
Material from the first interview has been previously published in the form of a case study that I have used to develop conceptual models reflecting the role of pornography in the organisation of child sexual abuse (see Itzin 1996, 1997a, 1997b, and chapter five, this volume). For this chapter I have extrapolated from those previous publications the narrative in which 'Alice' describes her experiences as a child of incest, of abuse organised within her family, of abuse organised outside her family, of being prostituted and of being used in and abused with pornography.
To this I have added subsequent, previously unpublished interview data edited into the form of a narrative in which 'Alice' describes the effects on her life in childhood, adolescence and adulthood of the abuse she experienced as a child. Her story tells of living with the 'traumatic sexualisation, betrayal, powerlessness and stigmatisation' described by Finkelhor and Browne (1985): in the words of Alice herself the 'torture and its legacy of revictimisation, self-abuse, attempted suicide, and life-long depression'. Her belief that being abused in and through pornograhy aggravated the trauma of the sexual abuse she experienced as a child is supported by the clinical observations of Hunt and Baird that 'being photographed while being sexually abused exacerbates the shame, humiliation and powerlessness that sexual