Child Maltreatment and Survival in Jane Rowan’s The River of Forgetting: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse




art therapy, betrayal trauma, dissociative identity disorder, Jane Rowan, The River of Forgetting


In the twenty-first century, child maltreatment has broadened our perception of the relationship between child sexual abuse, survival and the healing process from psychological trauma. Trauma narratives are considered personalized responses to the awareness of the drastic effects of sexual assaults on children. Memoirs illustrate the effect of child sexual abuse on memory and identity. This research paper aims at applying Jennifer Freyd’s trauma theory that involves child maltreatment and emotional neglect to Jane Rowan’s The River of Forgetting (2010). It deals with the concept of betrayal trauma, its symptoms and some of the defensive surviving strategies such as dissociative amnesia and dissociative identity disorder (DID) as adaptive responses to childhood sexual abuse. Rowan’s memoir is considered a personal account of her psychological suffering due to her repressed memory of being sexually abused by her father during her early childhood. It examines how the protagonist struggles to survive among persistent traumatic memories that are repressed during forty years of her life. Finally, the textual analysis clarifies the process of recovery from psychological trauma by using psychotherapy, dance therapy, art therapy and scriptotherapy.

Author Biographies

Iman El Sayed Raslan, Helwan University, Ain Helwan, Cairo Egypt

Associate Professor of English Literature

Department of English Language & Literature

Faculty of Arts, Helwan University, Egypt

Hanan Barakat Diwidar, Associate Professor of English Literature, Faculty of Arts, Helwan University

Associate Professor of English Literature

Department of English Language & Literature

Faculty of Arts, Helwan University, Egypt

Mariem Fathy Mohamed, M.A.Graduate Student, Faculty of Arts, Helwan University

Department of English Language & Literature

Faculty of Arts, Helwan University, Egypt


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Date of Publication


How to Cite

Raslan, I. E. S., Diwidar, H. B., & Mohamed, M. F. (2024). Child Maltreatment and Survival in Jane Rowan’s The River of Forgetting: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 24(2), 395–414.



Table of Contents
Received 2023-12-04
Accepted 2024-03-21
Published 2024-06-06