Truth and Repair: How Trauma Survivors Envision Justice

Basic: Perseus. Mar. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781541600546. $28. LAW
In a companion piece to her 1992 book Trauma and Recovery, Herman (psychiatry, Harvard Medical Sch.) imagines an equitable model for justice for trauma survivors. She focuses her discussion on the victims of violence against women and children. First, she explores trauma through the lenses of tyranny, equity and patriarchy. Next, she imagines a more equitable justice system that centers victims and their desires; there are examples to illustrate. Through conversations with victims, Herman discovers that they most often want an acknowledgement of their experience from the community, an apology from the perpetrator, and for the perpetrator to be held accountable. Herman’s analysis finds that the current criminal justice system in the United States is inadequate for the victims she interviewed and leaves many of them feeling as though they do not have a voice. Additionally, she briefly looks at the effect of systemic racism in justice systems. She advocates for alternate models of justice, most prominently a restorative justice one, and assesses the pros and cons of these approaches. The book ends with a call for change and centering of survivors.
VERDICT An intriguing exploration of alternative methods of justice for trauma survivors.
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