Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

By Judith Lewis Herman

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror


Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

9 Quotes    4.3 

It was hailed as a pioneering work when Trauma and Recovery was first published in 1992. The volume of Herman has changed in the intervening years the way we think about and treat traumatic events and victims of trauma. Herman chronicles the incredible reaction the book has elicited in a new aft... erword and explains how the issues surrounding the subject have shifted within the clinical community and the culture as a whole. Trauma and recovery brings a new level of understanding to a set of problems which are usually individually considered. In order to show the parallels between private terrors such as rape and public traumas such as terrorism, Herman draws on her own cutting-edge research into domestic violence as well as on the vast literature of combat veterans and victims of political terror. The book places the individual experience within a broader political framework, arguing that psychological trauma can only be understood in a social context. Documented meticulously and often using the words of the victims themselves as well as those from classical literary works and prison diaries, Trauma and Recovery is a powerful work that will continue to deeply impact our thinking.



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    Basic books


    May 30, 1997

  • ISBN

    0465087302 , 9780465087303







Quotes from Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.

Over time as most people fail the survivor's exacting test of trustworthiness, she tends to withdraw from relationships. The isolation of the survivor thus persists even after she is free.

The guarantee of safety in a battering relationship can never be based upon a promise from the perpetrator, no matter how heartfelt. Rather, it must be based upon the self-protective capability of the victim. Until the victim has developed a detailed and realistic contingency plan and has demonstrated her ability to carry it out, she remains in danger of repeated abuse.

Combat and rape, the public and private forms of organized social violence, are primarily experiences of adolescent and early adult life. The United States Army enlists young men at seventeen; the average age of the Vietnam combat soldier was nineteen. In many other countries boys are conscripted for military service while barely in their teens. Similarly, the period of highest risk for rape is in late adolescence. Half of all victims are aged twenty or younger at the time they are raped; three-quarters are between the ages of thirteen and twenty-six. The period of greatest psychological vulnerability is also in reality the period of greatest traumatic exposure, for both young men and young women. Rape and combat might thus be considered complementary social rites of initiation into the coercive violence at the foundation of adult society. They are the paradigmatic forms of trauma for women and men.

Combat   Ptsd   Rape   Trauma

The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.

Many abused children cling to the hope that growing up will bring escape and freedom.
But the personality formed in the environment of coercive control is not well adapted to adult life. The survivor is left with fundamental problems in basic trust, autonomy, and initiative. She approaches the task of early adulthood――establishing independence and intimacy――burdened by major impairments in self-care, in cognition and in memory, in identity, and in the capacity to form stable relationships.
She is still a prisoner of her childhood; attempting to create a new life, she reencounters the trauma.


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