Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to conceptualize child sexual offending in Pakistan

Ms Sobia Masood1

1The University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

There is a paucity of research on child-victim sexual offending (CSO) in Pakistan. This is because there are no shared understandings of child sexual abuse nor relevant terms in local languages, and discussing sexual violence is taboo. CSO is difficult to conceptualize due to a range of socio-cultural factors rooted in kinship and patriarchy, such as values of haya (modesty), sharam (shame/embarrassment) and izzat (honour/respect). Understanding this phenomenon at a cultural level requires a method that enmeshes language and culture to grasp the complex, multilayered and gendered context of CSO in Pakistan. I have gathered the perspectives of community members and those in law enforcement agencies through 25 in-depth semi-structured online interviews. In this presentation I explain how I have used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to examine the way participants understand notions of childhood, consent, and gender roles within the cultural norms of Pakistan. IPA is an inquiry into the cultural positions of participants and is underutilized in the study of crime. To understand the claims being made by the participants, the researcher needs a certain level of cultural competence and insight to understand their terms of reference. IPA allows me to use my positionality to include and reflect on my own experience of growing up in Pakistan in ways that elicit deeper and more profound participant responses. Thus, I can place the participant’s conceptualizations of CSO in sociocultural context, thereby providing rich experiential data highlighting how the cultural positions of the participants influence their conceptualization of CSO in Pakistan.


Bio to come


Dec 08 2021