"The prevailing theme of the conference was that adults who witnessed violence as children and other victims of domestic violence can successfully engage in the process of healing. "
A Journey to Healing Finding the Path
he Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, held its 2009 national conference A Journey to Healing: Finding the Path Aug. 3-4 in Long Beach, Calif.
This two-day, ground-breaking event featured over 50 presenters, including a panel of former battered women who shared their journeys of healing with an audience of more than 600 participants. They told about their process of becoming more than a “survivor” after enduring domestic abuse.
The conference also featured a panel of adults who recounted their first-hand experiences of witnessing domestic violence as children and offered their personal perspectives on healing.
The prevailing theme of the conference was that adults who witnessed violence as children and other victims of domestic violence can successfully engage in the process of healing. Survivors may tread different pathways in their journey, but true healing is possible.
This two-day, ground-breaking event featured over 50 presenters
Five stages of healing have roots in research
IDVAAC Executive Director Dr. Oliver Williams’ presentation “Battered Women’s Perspectives on Healing: Report on Focus Group Responses” identified the five stages of healing women typically experience when healing from domestic violence.
For the past few years, IDVAAC, in collaboration with several nonprofits, conducted focus groups and individual interviews with women who have been victims of domestic violence. This research was instrumental in the development of the five stages of healing. The nonprofits include: PROTOTYPES of Culver City, Calif., Jenesse of Los Angeles and Trans-formation Detroit.
Williams explained that healing is an individual process, and there is not a single path or ultimate truth. The experience of healing varies from individual to individual, but there are strong similarities in the stages experienced by most survivors.
The five stages of healing will be the focus of an upcoming issue of the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, a national scholarly journal. It will focus on adults and children who have been victims of domestic violence and will include research gathered for the conference in Long Beach by Dr. Williams, as well as research and perspectives from IDVAAC Steering Committee members Dr. Robert Hampton at Tennessee State University and Dr. Esther Jenkins at Chicago State University.
Also writing for this publication will be Dr. Sandy Graham Bermann at the University of Michigan, Dr. Carolyn West at the University of Washington-Tacoma, Dr. Terri Pease at the Domestic Violence and Mental Health Policy Initiative in Chicago, and Dr. Robert Geffner from Alliant International University in San Diego.