It is difficult for most people after a traumatic event to find peace, acceptance and to forgive those who wronged them – whether it was a loved one who committed suicide, a child involved in an accident, gender-based violence, a horrific attack of a family member. Victims and relatives walk an uphill road to process the disturbing events and eventually arrive at a place of forgiveness.
Season 3 of the Afrikaans reality series Vergewe My on VIA (DStv Channel 147) is underway and in the 13 brand-new episodes, the spotlight is on various traumatic events – some old and others more recent. Clinical psychologist Hein Hofmeyr is part of the Vergewe My team and consults on each episode and gives us more insight on what we can expect of Season 3.
Finding the stories
In Season 3, the stories of a couple (episode 1) who were taken hostage in the Philippines, a tragic car accident that took the life of a 17-year-old (episode 2), a man wrongly convicted of murder (episode 6), and more, are featured. But how do you track down people who’ve experienced such serious traumas? “We do extensive research in the media and then approach those individuals to tell their stories. We see if they are open to forgiveness and in some case, reconciliation,” says Hein.
“Not everyone always wants to speak in front of the cameras for the world to see, or even confront and forgive their perpetrators. It’s not an easy thing to do, but if they choose to appear on this show, it helps them to finally find closure and healing.”
The victims and perpetrators receive help from social workers on the series who facilitate dialogue between them where they hopefully end up forgiving each other. Hein has no contact with them but gives his expert opinion and advice about each case.
“I first look at the footage after filming has wrapped on an episode. I then try to be as clinical and objective as I can, using my knowledge to explain what happened, and give advice and perspective to those involved. And, to the viewer at home who might have gone through a similar experience and give them guidelines on how they can find healing and forgiveness.”
It is never easy to open up and talk about the pain and trauma you have experienced. “But when people do talk about it, they take the first step to their healing process, and that can be therapeutic. And when the time is right, they will feel empowered. Many say afterwards that they feel like a mountain has been moved off their shoulders,” adds Hein.
Watch Vergewe My Season 3, Thursdays at 21:00 on VIA (DStv Channel 147)
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