Judith Lewis Herman, "Truth and Repair: How Trauma Survivors Envision Justice" (Basic Books, 2023)


Judith Herman is renowned for her groundbreaking work with survivors of trauma, including sexual trauma. Her earlier books include Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror (Basic Books, 2022) and Father-Daughter Incest (Harvard UP, 2000)

The #MeToo movement brought worldwide attention to sexual violence, in both domestic and work settings. However, the movement did not address the crime of sexual violence in war, and the use of rape as a weapon of war. In fact, when these historical horrors were brutally used once again in October 2023, the #MeToo movement, and other feminist and anti-rape organizations responded - not with outrage- but with silence.

In contrast, high profile, celebrity cases of sexual abuse and harasment in the U.S. and U.K. gained media coverage, with attention focused on the fates of a few notorious predators who were put on trial. We heard far less about the outcomes of those trials for the survivors of their abuse.

Professor Herman maintains that conventional retributive process fails to serve most survivors; it was never designed for them. She argues that the first step toward a better form of justice is simply to ask survivors what would make things as right as possible for them.

In Truth and Repair: How Trauma Survivors Envision Justice (Basic Books, 2023) she commits the radical act of listening to survivors. Recounting their stories, she offers an alternative vision of justice as healing for survivors and their communities.

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Renee Garfinkel

Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at reneeg@vanleer.org.il. She's on Twitter @embracingwisdom. She blogs here.

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