“Truth and Repair” by Judith Lewis Herman, M.D.


Psychiatrist Judith Herman is one of the most respected voices in the area of trauma – especially sexual violence.  While our opinions are often shaped by anger and the desire for revenge, she notes the ways in which victims are often left without a voice, or without any recognition of the harm done to them.  Only 20% of sexual violence acts are ever reported, and only 5% of those ever result in a conviction.  Victims are either put on trial or rendered powerless by those who are trying to “save” them.  In the process, WE fail to ask what THEY want, and what will help THEM heal.  Dr. Herman brilliantly illustrates both the importance listening to survivors and asking them what they want.  She also stresses the importance of creating a model for community accountability, and a process for helping victims find healing within the larger community, rather than perpetuating a system that renders victims voiceless and invisible.

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