Discover the five things I’ve learned about naming and understanding moral injury and about surviving its personal consequence.
I’m an author, an analyst, and — currently — a Professor of Practice of Human Rights at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. But first, and always, I am a reporter. I write long-format narratives, mainly about war and the politics of conflict.
My focus is on war crimes; global terrorism; refugee issues and sexual violence during war time. My goal is to document evidence on the ground that can later be cited in war crimes tribunals. I work alone; often undercover and in closed and difficult countries. And as a result, I’ve seen first-hand the profound trauma common to every war zone. Too often, I have also witnessed the devastating psychological consequences of conflict that continue to live on for members of local populations, for active soldiers, and for journalists like me.
In August 2020, Harper’s Magazine published my essay, “On Moral Injury,” in which I sought to give name to a single, shared scar common to all war zone participants — a scar that Dr. Anthony Feinstein, with whom I’ve worked closely, describes it as: “an affront to your moral compass based on your own behavior and the things you have failed to do.”
Moral injury is a branch of trauma that affects individuals forced to witness an event that goes against their moral core: A soldier, for example, who during war time is forced to witness torture; a a mother who sees her children bullied; journalists who witness terrible atrocities and must face choices between their obligation to help and their duty to observe, and who many remain haunted by their decisions for years afterward. In a collective sense, moral injury can similarly impact groups of people — citizens, for example, whose political values differ drastically from their country’s leaders and who feel deeply offended by lying, cheating or injustice in their political life.
In this ninety-minute class, I will look more closely at moral injury, and focus on what I’ve seen when individuals — and communities — believe they have significantly failed to live up to their own ethical standards. I’ll illustrate the psychological damage inflicted by this ethical dilemma with stories from my own career as a frontline journalist. I’ll address the responsibilities that journalists have toward their subjects, and that news organizations should their similarly have to their reporters. I will also explore some extended dimensions of moral injury, including for example, the moral injuries that the COVID-19 pandemic will likely inflict on us all in the months and years ahead.
Living through 2020 tested many of our core values — about what is fair and what is just, about illness as a metaphor. It also exposed the weakness of the health care system and the underlying structural injustice in America — who is rich, who is poor, who gets good care and who does not. How do we live with ourselves about witnessing such cataclysmic shifts in society, and our own collective trauma as a society? How can racism, sexism and injustice be so prevalent in a country that has so much to offer and is so evolved?
With the start of a new year, the beginning of a new U.S. government, and — we all hope — the beginning of the end of COVID-19 now in sight, it feels like the time to think through these issues, and to further develop together the concept of moral injury and its personal consequences.
I hope you’ll join me.
About Janine di Giovanni
Buy your ticket today
Join multi-award winning journalist and author Janine di Giovanni and discover the five things she’s learned about understanding and surviving the moral injury individuals suffer when forced to witness an event that goes against their moral core.
Online Class Details
- 90 minutes
- Single ticket for session - $40.00
Join multi-award winning journalist and author Janine di Giovanni and discover the five things she’s learned about understanding and surviving the moral injury individuals suffer when forced to witness an event that goes against their moral core.https://myfivethings.com/class/moral-injury-and-its-personal-consequence/
Frequently Asked Questions
Your ticket entitles you to ongoing access to this class — even after the live session concludes.
Please look for an email with information about how to access the course archive within 48 hours of the end of the live class. Once you get it, you’ll have all the information you need to access this course for at least nine months from the live class date — across any and all devices you own.
If you’d like a refund, we can happily credit the card you used to register for the session. Please send a note to email@example.com, and we’ll confirm receipt as soon as we see it (We don’t need your credit card info – just your email address and date of purchase.)
There are two things to know:
- Unfortunately, we can only accept cancellations and refunds up to 48 hours before a scheduled session.
- There is sure to be a lapse in time between the time we refund your order and the time a corresponding credit appears on your credit card statement. So that you’re not left waiting and wondering, we’ll contact you as soon as we’ve processed the credit in our system.
If you’ve purchased a ticket for this online class and you find that for some reason you can’t make the live session, we’ve got you covered:
We’ll make an archive of this class available within 48 hours of the live session, and we’ll send every ticket holder details on how they can view it.
Ticket holders can view this full session archive any time they like – as often as they like.
We take data security and your privacy as seriously as you do.
That’s why we use Stripe to process your registration transaction. They take your credit card and secure your data – in fact we don’t even have access to your credit card number. Which is just the way we like it!
The information we do retain we protect carefully.
Still have a question? We’d be please to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The receipt you receive via email immediately after you register is all you need to know you’re set for the upcoming session.
About 48 hours before the live class is scheduled to begin, we’ll send you a personalized email confirming everything’s on schedule and containing easy instructions for accessing the class.
We’ll send another reminder on the day of the class itself, and we’ll be available online just before the class begins to make sure you have no problems joining when the time is right.
If you’ve not received confirmation of your purchase, it’s not because we haven’t sent it. In fact, we send a confirmation right away to make sure that we can reach you with class details.
If you haven’t received a confirmation, check your “junk” or “promotions” email first — some people’s email programs group unfamiliar emails in these types of folders. The email date and time should match closely the time you purchased your ticket online.
If the confirmation email is not there, there’s a small possibility that your email address wasn’t entered as you intended when you registered (You’d be surprised, but this happens). If we don’t have your proper email address, we can’t contact you.
In any case, if you can’t find your confirmation email, please send us a note at email@example.com. We’ll get back to you right away!
Thanks for stopping by!
Sign up for our newsletter.
Find out first about every new class.
Register now. Get the latest news and the earliest discounts delivered right to your inbox. Not all the time. Just once a week.