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Synopsis

For more than 25 years, I have done research on perpetrators of violence and on persons who have risks for violence but lived law-abiding, pro-social lives. I talked to them in prisons and treatment centers. In this narrative, I describe my gradual understandings of the meanings of violence to perpetrators and of the violence that resides in my own heart and in my use of violent imagery and thoughts in my daily life. I realize now that listening to these stories of violence helped me to become aware of my own internalized violence. I have processed my internalized violence and have let go of most of it, although I will not let myself forget that violent thoughts and images are within me and presumably in other people too. It seems impossible to be part of this culture and not to have internalized violence. My hope is that what I have learned will make a constructive contribution to the understanding and prevention of various forms of interpersonal violence. I have a lot of thinking to do. This was originally published in 2010 in the journal Reflections.

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