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A Cultural-Sensitive Approach to Counseling a Samoan Sex Offender

Authors: Byron Malaela Sotiata Seiuli


Sexual violation is any form of sexual violence, including rape, child molestation, incest, and similar forms of non-consensual sexual contact. Much of these acts of violation are perpetuated, but not entirely, by men against women and children. Moetolo is a Samoan term that is used to describe a person who sexually violates another while they or their family are asleep. This paper presents and discusses sexual abuse from a Samoan viewpoint. Insights are drawn from the authors’ counseling engagement with a Samoan sex offender as part of his probation review process. Relevant literature is also engaged to inform and provide interpretation to the therapeutic work carried out. This article seeks to contribute new understanding to patterned responses of some Samoan people to sexual abuse behaviors, and steps to remedy arising concerns with perpetrators seeking reintegration back into their communities.

Keywords: Fa’asamoa, Samoan cultural identity, sexual abuse and recovery, Uputāua therapeutic approach.

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