Moral Injury from Sexual Abuse and War: Soul Wounds and Soul Repair (A Community Responsibility)

Des Moines, IA US
September 27, 2013

The horrific nature of sexual abuse and the trauma of war and military combat are not human experiences we like to think about deeply, yet understanding these experiences is crucial to life together in our communities. The soul wounds and moral injury resulting from such experiences not only haunt survivors and veterans for years, but also produce devastating ripple effects within family relationships and communities. The concepts of “moral injury” and “community responsibility” are common threads we will use to weave together these two topics so critical to the health and welfare of our country.

Target Audience

A multidisciplinary group of health care providers (physicians, psychologists, clinical social workers, criminal justice staff, attorneys, judicial employees, chaplains, pastors, psychotherapists, military personnel, etc.) who are responsible for the care of victims of  sexual abuse and/or soldiers suffering from moral injury due to war and/or military sexual assault.


TimePresentation and Speaker
8:30 amRegistration and Light Breakfast
8:50 am

Welcome and Introductions

9 am

Sexual Abuse on the Hollow Water Reserve – Stories and Experiences
Return to Traditional Sacred Ways: The Role of Community

Berma Bushie

10 am

A Tribute to the Hollow Water Experiment in Sacred Justice

Rupert Ross

10:30 amBreak
10:45 am

A Personal Path of Healing; the Path All of Us Must Walk
From “Broken Laws” to “Broken Relationships:” A Paradigm Shift

Rupert Ross

11:15 amBerma Bushie and Rupert Ross: A Dialogue
11:45 amGroup Discussion
12 pmLunch
1 pm 

Soul Wounds from Moral Injury: War and Military Sexual Assault

Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, PhD

2 pm Group Disucssion
2:15 pmBreak
2:30 pm

Soul Repair and Community Responsibility

Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, PhD

3:30 pmGroup Discussion
3:45 pmClosing Remarks and Ceremony with Ms. Bushie, Mr. Ross and Dr. Brock
4 pmAdjourn


  1. Define “moral injury” and “communal responsibility.”
  2. Recognize the defining characteristics of a moral injury.
  3. Distinguish wounds from PTSD from those of moral injury.
  4. Apply systems-based perspectives to assessment and intervention approaches to patient and family care.
  5. Effectively use broad-based community resources for treatment intervention.
  6. Identify basic strengths of a model of “sacred justice.”
  7. Discuss unique indigenous contributions to healing sexual abuse.
  8. Cite the specific flaws of our judicial system and recognize needed changes.

Guest Speakers

  • Berma Bushie is an Ojibwa grandmother, residing at the Hollow Water First Nation Reserve in Manitoba, Canada.  An Anishinaabe Elder, Berma co-developed a sacred justice model of healing from sexual abuse that brought revolutionary changes to the legal system after recognizing violent crimes were more about broken relationships than about broken laws.
  • Rupert Ross is a retired Crown Prosecutor of Western Ontario. He is the author of several books including the Canadian best seller, Returning to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice. In writing about the Hollow Water experiment, Mr. Ross realized that courtroom proceedings and incarceration work against the healing process, and that courtrooms rarely allow victims and perpetrators to be seen as whole persons, as evolving persons, as extensions of their home communities. 
  • The Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, PhD is Research Professor of Theology and Culture, and Founding Co-Director of The Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth, Texas, and co-author of Soul Repair an examination of “moral injury.” She examines how war creates ethical dilemmas for soldiers who are forced to witness or engage in death or other atrocities that can develop problems beyond the scope of PTSD. Dr. Brock has a particular interest in the examination of military sexual assault (MSA).


Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 4.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 4.00 AOA Category 2­A
  • 4.75 CE Contact Hour(s)
  • 5.70 IBON
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
09/27/2013 - 9:00am CDT
Event ends: 
09/27/2013 - 4:00pm CDT
Plymouth United Church of Christ
4126 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
United States

Available Credit

  • 4.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 4.00 AOA Category 2­A
  • 4.75 CE Contact Hour(s)
  • 5.70 IBON


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