Adultification, neglect and sexual abuse at home: Selected narratives of orphaned girls in KwaMashu, South Africa
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This paper explores two orphaned girls' accounts of victimization and vulnerability to child sexual abuse in their family homes. Interviews with these girls revealed a trend of neglect, adversity and processes of adultification which involved accounts of sexual abuse within their family homes. According to the data, the participants are vulnerable and they experience victimization as they are routinely sexually abused by older male relatives and non-related men and boys inside their family homes – where they are supposed to feel safe and protected. We argue that these two young girls' experiences need to be understood as consequences of the prevailing cultures of toxic heteropatriarchal masculinities which have produced and normalized the distribution of male power over girls. The kinds of interventions required to address toxic masculinities and to insulate orphan girls from sexual abuse and neglect are also discussed.