Posted by: joshjasper | November 19, 2008

The impact of violence

Last night I participated in a victim impact panel for the first time.  The purpose of this panel is to allow survivors of domestic and sexual abuse to share their stories to perpetrators.  The hope is that the abuser becomes better familiar with the pain that he/she has inflicted on their victim. 

It was intense to say the least. 

There were 37 men in attendance that had been found guilty of crimes related to violence against women and children.  Two survivors shared their stories and then a 7 minute audio tape was played of a 6 year old girl that called 911 to report her step father beating her mother.  For 7 minutes you could hear the 6 year old screaming hysterically while hearing the violence that took place in the background.  It was very difficult to sit through that and hear the events unfold for that young child.  To say that children “witness” domestic violence simply underestimates the effect.  Children become victims of domestic abuse by having to watch their family members abuse one another.  I am sure that 6 year old girl that had to call 911 because her step father was choking her mother and threatening to kill her younger sister will never be the same because of that horrific night. 

I focused my presentation on examining men’s violence against women while asking the attendees to participate in a dialogue about what it means to be a man in today’s culture and how that very definition can contribute to violence.  To be clear, I did not once excuse the violence that these men perpetrated but rather educated and empowered these individuals concerning the reality that violence is a learned behavior and that they now have a decision to make.  They can decide to continue abusing others, or they can choose to reevaluate their behavior, attitudes, and beliefs so that they are better equipped in the future, and not make the same mistake again. 

It is my opinion that to shame these individuals and to not take the time to understand their behavior would only set them up to once again fail, or more specifically, harm someone again.



  1. That must have been pretty hard talking to so many people that have hurt so many.

  2. These men (and other perpetrators) can also make a third choice: To actively work toward prevention.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: