Episode 50 - Dr. Judith Herman: Justice from the Victim's Perspective

Monday, July 12, 2010, 9:48:52 AM

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In this episode, trauma expert and author Dr. Judith Herman discusses her initial encounters with oppressed women and how she initially organized her thinking about victims of trauma. Dr. Herman describes what she is currently learning from a sample of trauma survivors about what they are interested in regarding justice, healing, forgiveness, and the role of the community in their healing.

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Average Rating: 4.3 stars (6 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  dr. judith herman, Thursday, February 05, 2015

By Brandy Loveland :

I greatly enjoyed the podcast for Ms. Herman. She brought to light some things that I never thought of or realized when working with trauma victims. I have always assumed that survivors of trauma wanted vindication in the form of "justice being served" through incarceration. I never thought that they were more interested in redemption and community support, but it makes so much more sense. The guilt and shame that I have observed working with clients who have trauma and have been personally violated, affects in how they socialize, function in society, and even react to certain situations. Also, I never thought of how damaging it can be to push a person towards forgiveness who have been victimized. It was refreshing to get this perspective, as it is definitely a piece of knowledge that is relevant for my job as well as my internship. Also Dr. Herman seemed to validate some of the thoughts I have had when I have went to court to support clients who were victimized about how clients are marginalized in the judicial process when a perpetrator is being tried. I also enjoyed her perceptions on the changes to the DSM-4 that affect those with trauma, especially with those who are torture survivors and those who were in concentration camps. I agree with her views about complex PTSD and how it should not be considered as a form of anxiety. Also, the notion of a trauma spectrum category would be needed, especially with the current trend as more and more people, especially those who were veterans, deal with the trauma of being in repeated tours for war.

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Average Rating: 4stars  podcast review, Monday, January 26, 2015

By Michelle Bernard :

I quite enjoyed the podcast and the reflection that followed when I thought about Dr Herman's statement on what would justice look like if we took the victim's perspective into account! I found her reach findings interesting and her discussion on the survivors being uninterested in the perpetrator- the current focus of the justice system. The fact that her findings suggested that the survivors are more interested in community acknowledgement of what they endured at the hands of the perpetrator and that sometimes closure and forgiveness are not the primary interest.
It would interesting to hear Dr. Herman’s take on the DSM-5 now that it has been released given her discussion on the proposed changes in the podcast.

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Average Rating: 4stars  podcast review, Saturday, April 20, 2013

By Amanda B. :

Dr. Herman discussed the view of justice from the perspective of women who experienced trauma. This discussion was very interesting. It is stated that victims are not concerned about the perpetrator of the crime and are not interested in punishment, but on community acknowledgement of what have happened to them and the harm that is done. They want a healing relationship with the community, and want to feel accepted and have their honor restored, as it was taken away from them after the crime was committed upon them. The victims would like a REAL apology, where the victim is being truthful and genuine, but not an apology just to get one from the victim. They were also not interested in forgiveness or revenge. All of this information was astonishing to me. To think that after all this trauma and harm that has been experienced; these women have to feelings of revenge on the perpetrator.
Discussion of the DSM-V was new information to me. I do not know too much about the DSM and hearing Dr. Herman discuss her beliefs of what needs to be changed, addressed, and expanded was very informative. It was interesting to hear that there is such an argumentative view of disorders in the DSM of what should and should not be discussed. I also found it interesting to hear that many women who experience victimization by men, have it set in their mind that they deserve the treatment and they allow it continue happening because their mind is telling them that it is their own fault and they deserve the treatment. Also interesting was that there was very little awareness of abuse and maltreatment before the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movement. It was also interesting to hear that even with the introduction of new, recent research, the basic understanding about oppression has not changed the views of people.
As a social worker myself, this information will be useful if I find myself working with violence and trauma with women, a field that I yet to have experience in.

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Average Rating: 4stars  the evolving understanding of trauma , Saturday, February 02, 2013

By Katie Kell :

This podcast was beneficial for me to listen to because I think it helped me to realize how women before the Civil Rights and the Women's Rights movements were regarded in domestic violence and abuse cases. Dr. Herman points out how women felt that they deserved the shame that they experienced and that women who experienced domestic violence were oftentimes subjected to child abuse. Dr. Herman was most effective in proving to listeners that violence is violence, whether during wartime or in the household. It is important to bear in mind that survivors seek social support and acknowledgment and they are not as concerned with the perpetrator's punishment. As an MSW student, it was critical for me to hear that survivors are not always seeking vengeance, and that most often they are forced to be witnesses to the court cases against the perpetrators. Before listening to this podcast I never would have known that victims are conflicted about what they wish for, and that they are not necessarily concerned with punishment being doled out. This podcast also made me hopeful for a DSM V category that deals solely with trauma victims and the unique symptoms that traumatization leaves in its wake.

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Average Rating: 5stars  dr. herman - podcast review, Saturday, July 24, 2010

By R. Garnier :

Dr. Judith Herman discusses Justice as perceived by the victim. She is an expert in the field of trauma and abuse. Herman is a seasoned veteran/participant in both the civil rights and women rights movement. In 1991 she wrote a book on trauma. She states that she has learned much from listening to the victims tell their stories and has found that most survivors do not wish for their perpitrators to be prosecuted but rather prefer that the community “acknowledge and affirm” their abuse. They feel that their perpetrator is not capable of a real apology but that the relationship between them and the community in regards to their abuse, will help them with their healing process. Herman has interviewed approximately 22 victims of abuse when this podcast was made. She has done this for a book she is currently working on. The book gives voice to women and men who have experienced some sort of abuse trauma in their lives and focusing on their thoughts on what justice means to them.
Herman goes on to discuss upcoming changes being introduced to the DSM5. Herman was asked to speak to the committee to give input into those changes. She also goes on to discuss recent and future changes to the field of trauma.

As a social worker and a volunteer in the field of sexual assault, I find this podcast to be informative, useful and applicable when working with the clients that I may come in contact with.

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Average Rating: 4stars  justice, Thursday, July 22, 2010

By Joana F. :

Hearing Dr. Herman talk about what survivors of sexual domestic violence view as justice was very interesting. It was interesting to know that their perspective was different, compared to how the court law sees it. From the survivors she interviewed, Dr. Herman mentioned that they are more interested in community acknowledgment and affirmation of what has occurred and not interested in revenge and forgiveness. What I find surprising, however, is their disinterest in forgiveness. Though forgiveness is not by force, I believe that it would be healthier if the survivor is able to set his or her mind to forgive. To me, forgiveness is not for the one who committed the crime, but for the survivor because though the situation is tough, the ability to honestly let go would do justice to him/her than not forgiving. I believe that for an actual healing to take place, forgiveness has to be present. Also, rather than political apology, as Dr. Herman puts it, real and genuine apology from the perpetrator would be the best.

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