Recently the Ashland University Criminal Justice Program hosted two guest speakers in Professor Marc Hedrick’s Victimology class. The guest speakers spoke on a similar topic, violence against women. However, the speakers were speaking from two very different points of view, having witnessed firsthand the varying forms of violence that women endure.
The first speaker was Janelle Renwick from Turning Point, a domestic violence shelter that serves both men and women, located in Marion, Ohio. Janelle spoke about her experience with women who come to the shelter after being victims of domestic violence. They oftentimes come with their children and with nothing but the clothes on their back. They face many obstacles, but it is Janelle’s job to help them in the way of assisting them to get counseling, aid, and life skills in order to break free from their victimization.
Janelle started her criminal justice career as a corrections officer in an all-male facility. However, she became disillusioned with the job after several months and realized that she wanted something different for her career. After a long search, she happened to come across her current position at Turning Point. She now says, “I love my job.”
|Reverend Berthe Nzeba (right)|
The Ashland University, Criminal Justice Program also collaborated with the Religion Department and the Ashland Center for Nonviolence to host Reverend Berthe Nzeba in the Victimology class. Reverend Nzeba is an ordained minister from the Congo. She and her family have experienced violence first hand, in the war-torn country, where there has been an estimated six (6) million related deaths due to war-related violence. Additionally, the women in the country are taken, used and sold as sex slaves. Reverend Nzeba now coordinates a national and international church effort to support women and children impacted by the violence in Eastern Congo. She came to Ashland University to educate the students about what is occurring there and asked them to think of ways they can make a difference.
Victimology students were also told, by Dr. Sue Dickson of the Religion Department, that one way they can make a difference was by serving as interns with the women and children’s international rescue ministry, Remember Nhu. Remember Nhu exists to prevent the exploitation of children in the sex trade industry throughout the world. Dr. Dickson now heads up coordinating internships for Remember Nhu.
Victimology is a relatively new field of study to criminal justice. Criminal justice has traditionally focused on the offenders, whether that was making sure they get all their due process rights or making sure they were properly punished. The victim has historically been left out of the entire process, but there has been a renewed emphasis on victims. The purpose of the Victimology course offered in the Criminal Justice Program at Ashland University is to look at the history of victims and the renewed focus on victims, both locally and internationally. The class exposes students to the realities that a criminal justice degree allows them to do more than just become a police officer or probation officer. There are many other jobs in and related to criminal justice, to include working with victims of all walks of life.