This paper presents some preliminary results from a pilot qualitative study of meaning-making in the aftermath of violent victimization. In-depth life story interviews were collected from ten victims of violent crime to explore their subjective narratives of trauma, healing, and personal transformation. Particular attention was paid to actions, events, or people that respondents deemed as pivotal in their experience of victimization and its aftermath, as well as elements seen as positive or negative to their experience of healing. The current examination focuses on respondents’ complex and double-edged experiences of help. Three core themes are explored: being helped by helping others, bad help, and getting stuck beyond help. The first showcases the diverse paths into and benefits received from victims’ helping work spurred by their experiences. The second highlights how victims can feel their recovery stunted by the well-meaning actions of others, and the third emphasizes a number of dynamics that victims see as blocking the reception of help. Collectively, they show how the provision of help to victims is inextricable from their biographies and illustrate the need for further investigation of victim-centered helping strategies. Limitations of the current study and avenues for future research are discussed.
|Keywords:||Transformation, Victimization, Healing, Qualitative Research|
Visiting Professor, Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work, Seattle University, Seattle, WA, USA
Associate Professor, Department of Anthrolpology, Sociology, and Social Work, Seattle University, Seattle, WA, USA
Associate Professor and Chair, Criminal Justice, Seattle University, Seattle, WA, USA
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