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Men and Trauma Project

Changing the narrative about men who commit violent crimes to promote trauma-informed shifts in policy and practice.

There is a vast yet largely invisible population of men and boys for whom healing can be a pathway to life change.

Adversity in childhood takes many forms: neglect, emotional abuse, physical assault, severe bullying; witnessing violence at home and in the surrounding community; and the many ways systemic inequality and oppression manifest in a person’s life. Especially when compounded and unaddressed — a common experience among boys of color — these traumatic early life experiences can have lingering negative effects that dramatically alter the course of their lives. One unfortunate outcome is an increased risk of exhibiting the kind of violence and behavior they were saturated with early in life.

In 2021, researchers at Impact Justice began surveying and interviewing men about experiences from childhood and adolescence that might have set the stage for violent crimes they later committed as adults — mining their memories to understand trauma among men and cycles of violence. The Things They Carry, an immersive scrolling story released in August 2023 features key findings from the study. Along with capturing the scale and gravity of the problem, the story makes a compelling case for unlocking resources and promoting trauma-informed shifts in policy and practice that put healing at the center of efforts to address epidemic levels of violence among boys and men.

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