Moving within the spiral: The process of surviving

Sharon B. Murphy, Mary M. Moynihan, Victoria L. Banyard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


To uncover implicit and explicit meanings that are embedded in the experiences of adult survivors of sexual assault, the authors conducted interviews with 12 women survivors. Using Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology, they uncovered three relational themes and one overarching pattern from the data. ĝ€?Breaking downĝ€? describes the violence that survivors experience, ĝ€?making meaningĝ€? expresses the ways in which survivors incorporate the assault into the narratives of their lives, and ĝ€?going beyond themselvesĝ €? explicates what survivors do with their story, who they tell, and what they want to happen. Moving within the spiral: the process of surviving, the constitutive pattern, contains emerging themes, lived experiences, and the practices of participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-164
Number of pages13
JournalAffilia - Journal of Women and Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Process of surviving
  • Recovery
  • Sexual assault
  • Spiral metaphor


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