On my drive home from work today, I heard this story about the impact on children of witnessing domestic violence. I appreciated that this Minnesota Public Radio Youth Radio Series story was written and reported by a youth who lived the experience. So often we get the Interviewer, who relies on the “Expert Opinion” with a little bit of a personal story to provide the emotional content. For this story the opposite happened, the story was told first-hand; the reporter interviewed the Expert and reflected on the expert’s opinion and how it related to her own experience. I appreciate when the person affected is considered an authority in their own right.

I also appreciate that Ms. McMurray chose to interview an expert I know and respect, my advisor Jeff Edelson, Director of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (MINCAVA). The story is important and Ms. McMurray did a thoughtful, and I’m sure difficult, job sharing how witnessing domestic violence as a child has impacted her life. Being a “poster child” for an issue can be a cathartic and healing endeavor; it can also be exploitative and filled with pressure. I hope that for Ms. McMurray, it was the former. I hope that when she tells her story, she is allowed to control how much she shares and to whom she shares. Young people who are asked to speak about their experiences with trauma or violence are easily exploited by adults for a “cause.” Ms. McMurray has a strong voice of her own, and I appreciate that she was willing to share it so publicly.

You can listen to the story through the player here, http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/02/28/valencia-mcmurray-youth-radio-domestic-violence
or for the transcript and audio, click here for the Youth Radio website.


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