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: 4.5 stars (11 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  feeling the pain for victim & offender, Monday, May 04, 2020

By Ann-Marie Majeskey :

My name is Ann-Marie Majeskey & I am a Walden University student studying Social Work on the PhD level at this time.
This podcast has informed me not only about how victims feel but what they and the families members would like to hear and need to move forward. When Dr. Judith Herman discussed the perception of victims' identity and how it haunts them and how their honor can and needs to be restored this provided me with a great deal of insight to move forward in learning about this topic.
This information has created more insight and serves me well as it inspires me to continue to learn even more from my outstanding professor Dr. Amos Martinez.
Thank you Dr. Herman for this wonderful lesson as it will continue to enhance my knowledge as a social worker myself.

Ann-Marie Majeskey

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Average Rating: 5stars  victim's perspective, Monday, February 10, 2020

By Shiva Campbell :

I think the topic of this podcast is very interesting. When we think of justice after a crime we think of the legal system and what the judge sees is fit. No one ever think of what the survivor of the crime thinks about justice regardless of whether their ideas are feasible or not. I found it very interesting that while the justice system is concerned with punishment for perpetrators of these crimes, the survivors are not. Dr. Herman found that women who are survivors of domestic or sexual violence are concerned with community acknowledgment of the crime, they seek to heal the relationship between themselves and their community. However, this idea makes a lot of sense. Survivors feel a lot of guilt and shame because of these crimes especially due to how they are treated by their communities, so there want of community support is clear.

I also was surprised when Dr. Herman said that victims were not all that interested in forgiveness. I feel that the news is always reporting how some victims of crimes, not only sexual or domestic, forgive the people who have hurt them and how wonderful that all is. But, Dr. Herman states that survivors felt that this idea of forgiveness lets society off easy and is more for the comfort of individuals other than the survivors.

This podcast should be watched by anyone who intends to work in this field, with these types of clients because it sheds light on what they want, something that is often overlooked.

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Average Rating: 5stars  sensitive to victims needs, Wednesday, February 05, 2020

By Liz :

As a current social work graduate student, I really appreciated Dr. Herman’s podcast and perspective on victims of trauma. I was enlightened by Dr. Hermans findings regarding where the victim fits into a prosecutor versus defendant scenario that is designed to ‘punish’ the perpetrator, yet can sometimes view the victim as a commodity in the process to reach their goals, rather than working for a victim who is often not that interested in punishment but rather desires to be acknowledged, or heard and seen by their communities. This concept is important to be aware of and sensitive to as we begin to see victims of trauma in our practices who may come to us looking for validation.

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Average Rating: 5stars  justice from the victim's perspective, Sunday, February 11, 2018

By Clara B. :

I found this podcast episode to be very informative, Dr. Herman explained her experiences working with victims of violence. She raised questions worth exploring such as, “How would society be different if justice was executed in a way that benefited victims?”. I found that thought to be so profound, it raises the important point that seems to get lost after a traumatic incident has occurred. Dr. Herman has years of experience with clients who have gone through trauma and she has had the opportunity to see the transformation of clients who have dealt with troubling experiences. One point she makes is that one of the best predictors of thriving after an experience is having social support. I believe that social support can alter the path of a person who has gone through a horrific experience, when a person has a community of support to rely on and offer encouragement, it can make a difference in regards to how well they may recover. I hope that Dr. Herman is able to continue the work she has started it seems as though there are many people who have benefited from her work and it is amazing what she has done.

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Average Rating: 4stars  what is justice, Saturday, February 10, 2018

By Susan B. :

I found this podcast featuring Dr. Herman to be very informative. I do not have much experience with women who have experienced sexual traumas and I found that the information that Dr. Herman provided was very enlightening. The concept that a person who has experienced sexual trauma and what they deem to be appropriate as far as justice and forgiveness is very different than what I perceived. As a social worker or at least one that is in the mist of my education there is a feeling of needing to help and I found that through Dr. Herman's podcast that I assumed what a person would want as far as justice is concerned when it actuality I was wrong. The point is to empower the person not force what you think is right on the person. For a person that has experienced sexual trauma it may be support and acknowledgement from their family and community and being given a real and true apology that may leave them feeling as though they received some justice in their situation. Prior to listening to this podcast I admit that on some level I thought it necessary to forgive in order to move on. This may be to societal norms of pushing this concept towards us as people. After listening to the podcast I realize you should not have to forgive if you do not want to and just because you choose not to forgive someone does not mean that you cannot move forward in your life. For a person who has been victimized it is their right to feel how they want and choose what may be empowering for them. Sometimes the route that they choose is not to forgive that person and who can blame them.
Dr. Herman's podcast was really a breath of fresh air and for a person who has not dealt with people that have experienced sexual trauma I think it was a necessary podcast to listen to. Understanding the nuances of the perspective of the victim is vital to the way that a practitioner treats a victim and also how understand their clients as victims.

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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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