In 2005, Shannon Moroney was a teacher, guidance counsellor and happy newlywed when a police officer arrived at her door to tell her that her husband was in custody having confessed to the kidnapping and brutal sexual assault of two women in their community. Thrust upon a terrifying journey of grief, loss, confusion and stigma, Shannon witnessed first-hand the vast ripple-effect of violence and gaps in the justice and correctional systems for victims, offenders, families and communities.
After her husband pled guilty, was sentenced to life in prison, and they finalized their divorce, Shannon became an advocate for change--healing herself as she helped others. She earned a Masters degree in Child Welfare with an emphasis on trauma and restorative justice, became a certified restorative justice facilitator, began a public speaking career, and then wrote her memoir. Through the Glass became an instant national bestseller upon its release in 2011 and was published worldwide in 2012. It has been nominated for several awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, was a Canada Reads Top 40, and is currently #1 on the reading list at the international Empathy Library. Her work and story have been widely featured by media outlets around the world and her interview for CBC radio’s The Current was named in the top ten of the program’s ten years on air.
Passionate about restorative justice, Shannon has spoken internationally on the topic, provided written testimony to the Senate of Canada on Crime Bill C-10, and contributed to the public consultation for Canada’s Victims Bill of Rights. She is also a volunteer with Leave Out Violence and a member of the International Forgiveness Project. In 2015, Shannon wrote, narrated and co-produced a documentary called "In Harm's Way" for CBC Radio's The Current, which features the voices and stories of some of her readers--friends and family members of offenders--and gives insight to the issues they face.
Since 2008, Shannon has been engaging audiences all over the world. Using vivid photographs and artwork to illustrate her journey, Shannon tells her story and guides the audience to think about the big, universal themes: justice, forgiveness, and resilience. Shannon inspires triumph over trauma for people and communities. Those who hear her never forget her story.
Shannon lives in Toronto where she is remarried and the mother of twins. Visit her at www.shannonmoroney.com
Industry Expertise (8)
Writing and Editing
Health and Wellness
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Mental Health Care
Areas of Expertise (13)
Writing to Heal
Families of Offenders
Crime and Justice
Criminal and Social Justice Policy
Trent University: BA Honours, International Development Studies 1998
Completed year-abroad program in Ecuador
Winner of Peter Robinson College Award for Outstanding Contribution to College Life
Dean's List Graduate
OISE - University of Toronto: B. Ed., Education 2000
Certified intermediate/senior teacher
Specialization in Alternative and Global Education
Queen's University: Specialist Certificate in Guidance and Career Education, Counselling 2003
University of East Anglia, Norwich, England: MA (Hons), International Child Welfare 2007
Focus are: trauma and restorative justice for children and youth
The Banff Centre: Social Innovation Leadership Certificate, Social Innovation 2015
Shannon was one of a group of select participants from across Canada to participate in the first cohort of Social Innovation Leaders for the month-long residency program, "Getting to Maybe" (affiliated with the University of Waterloo)
- Writers' Union of Canada
- The Forgiveness Project
- Leave Out ViolencE (LOVE)
- The Banff Centre
- Doubleday Canada (Penguin Random House)
- Simon & Schuster USA & UK
Judah Outshoorn, Professor, Bachelor of Community & Criminal Justice | Conestoga College
"Shannon's work consistently inspires students to think more critically about their world, and to reflect more deeply about their own values. I have used Shannon's book as a text in a number of courses and would highly recommend it to others."
Brenda Morrison, Assistant Professor, School of Criminology & Co-Director, Centre for Restorative Justice | Simon Fraser University
"With courage and compassion Shannon Moroney draws us into the hidden world of those navigating our justice system - victims, offenders, family and friends. Shannon's compelling story, Through the Glass, has something to offer us all - personally and professionally. Her story allow us to see the possibility of a justice system that draws on our instinct for compassion, over our instinct for retribution. Against the odds, Shannon navigates a journey of hope for all of us."
Gerard Bellefeuille, Professor | Grant MacEwan University
“Shannon Moroney’s book Through the Glass is a useful resource for my students who are engaged in thinking about the importance of good assessment practices. It guides students in sorting through ethical and boundary issues, provides a powerful insightful look into Canada’s correctional and justice system, and the relational practice of forgiveness and empathy.”
Howard Zehr, American Criminologist and Co-Director of the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice; Advisor to the US Sentencing Committee | Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice, USA
“What an incredible story, and what a gifted story teller Shannon is. Once you pick up this book, you won’t be able to put it down. Moreover, it is likely to challenge some firmly-held assumptions about sexual offending and about who is included among its victims.”
Jean-Paul Boudreau, Dean of Arts | Ryerson University
“Shannon's book is a tour de force, heartfelt and passionate, with a journey that rivets from the first powerful opening sentence to the last. It is a journey that takes the reader through betrayal, violence and trauma; but more important, it is a journey of compassion and healing, of love and hope.”
Anthony Doob, Member of the Order of Canada and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor Emeritus of Criminology (University of Toronto) | University of Toronto, School of Criminology
“This beautifully written book is a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in obtaining a full understanding of the manner in which crime affects us all.”
Kirkus Reviews, Book Reviewer | Kirkus
“A young woman's page-turning account of how she faced the trauma that came in the aftermath of sadistic sex crimes perpetrated by her husband.”
Rabble Reviews, Book Reviewer | Rabble
"A well crafted journey through the nightmare of Canada's courts that painfully illustrates how many victims of crimes are never truly accounted for in the trial process."
Waterloo Chronicle, Reporter | Waterloo Chronicle
“Gripping and eye-opening. . . . A heart-wrenching story—written with great clarity—of grief, confusion, judgment, and loss.”
Edmonton Journal, Reporter | Edmonton Journal
“A level-headed but passionate look at the journey on which [Moroney] was thrust after her husband’s crime.”
Timothy Appleby, Reporter | The Globe and Mail
"A disturbing, lavishly written account . . . [Moroney] emerges as a credible advocate of what is termed 'restorative justice,' which stresses healing and reconciliation between offender and victim rather than just punishment."
Vancouver Sun, Reporter | Vancouver Sun
"Through the Glass could easily have been the story of how Moroney’s life fell apart — and indeed, it did. But this is no 'poor-me' tale. It’s equal parts a how-to manual for anyone touched by crime, an indictment of the criminal justice system, an endorsement of the practice of restorative justice, a thank-you note to the friends and family who supported Moroney and, ultimately, an answer to those who wanted her to explain."
Winnipeg Free Press, Reporter | Winnipeg Free Press
"An engaging, compassionate story of a woman's quest for hope in the wake of trauma and violence.”
The Peterborough Examiner, Reporter | The Peterborough Examiner
"This is a well-written, emotion-filled book with many unanswered questions for society to deal with...it is a book that everyone should read."
The London Free Press, Reporter | The London Free Press
"If you are going to read one book this year, let it be this one. You will never again forget, or take lightly, ALL the innocent victims of crimes."
The National Post, Reporter | The National Post
“A remarkable story… of love and betrayal, of a horribly broken man’s hidden brutality and his ex-wife’s boundless capacity to forgive.”
Anne Kingston, Journalist | Macleans Magazine
“A compelling documentation of a flawed penal system [and] a nuanced look at the humanity of a violent criminal. Most of all, it’s a meditation on forgiveness.”
Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, Author of the international bestseller Dead Man Walking and Founder of Ministry Against the Death Penalty (USA) | Ministry Against the Death Penalty
“A vivid, heartbreaking and eye-opening journey through the justice system that gives voice to the forgotten victims of crime—the families and friends of people who offend. Honest and timely, it is a must-read for the millions of Americans coping with the crimes and incarceration of a loved one, and for all those who want to understand their complex journey.”
Media Appearances (3)
Building From Betrayal
CBC Radio One's The Current with Ana Maria Tremonti radio
Barely a month after her wedding, Shannon Moroney's world was turned upside down. She was out of town at a conference when a police officer knocked on her hotel room door and told her that her husband Jason was in custody, accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting two women. The officer also told her that Jason had confessed to the crimes. In that moment, Shannon Moroney also became a victim, but one who didn't have an easy or comfortable place in the criminal justice system. She writes about her experience in her memoir, "Through The Glass." Anna Maria Tremonti spoke to Shannon Moroney in October of 2011. As The Current celebrates its tenth anniversary on the air, it's one of the top ten interviews we've aired.
George Stromboulopoulous Tonight
Shannon says in the instant she heard the news of Jason's arrest, her life was destroyed. Her book, Through the Glass, offers an intimate account of her path to "be whole again." It also serves hope and solace to the families and loved ones of perpetrators, and describes an inspirational journey to forgiveness.
In Harm's Way
CBC Radio's The Current radio
Readers become the subject in Shannon's new documentary. "In Harm's Way" is a two-part program featuring the voices of offenders' families who have reached out over the years, and the women in one very special group who are supporting each other.
Produced and narrated by Shannon Moroney with CBC Senior Producers Kathleen Goldhar and Joan Webber. Introduced by The Current's host, Anna Maria Tremonti.
Sample Talks (4)
THROUGH THE GLASS: One Woman’s Pursuit of Justice, Forgiveness and Healing
In October 2005, Shannon Moroney was a successful professional, proud homeowner, active volunteer and happy newlywed. A knock at her door shattered the life she knew: it was a police officer, there to deliver the shocking news that her husband, Jason, was in custody after confessing to the brutal sexual assault and kidnapping of two women in their town. Hear Shannon tell the story of her husband’s arrest, trial, sentencing, and the insights she gained about justice, healing and the relationship between the two as she struggled to triumph over tragedy. Openly sharing her experiences, reading selected pieces from her book and using photos and artwork to illustrate her journey, Shannon will leads the audience through an unforgettable ordeal and inspires hope even in the most desperate moments of the human condition.
WRITING WHAT HURTS: Recounting without Reliving
Geared toward seasoned and novice writers as well as literature lovers, this presentation offers wisdom and advice on caring for oneself and one’s manuscript while writing about trauma and difficult times. Shannon shares her own writing journey and discusses the private and public experience of opening her heart and memory, providing the audience with practical tools. Whether the goal is to publish, to document a journey, or to find personal healing, participants will come away with tools and resources to guide the process. Recounting doesn’t have to mean reliving.
RESILIENCE INSIDE OUT: How people and communities can overcome trauma and build peace
Is resilience something you're born with or something you can develop? What makes a person, community or society elastic and able to overcome life's challenges, big and small? Sharing her own personal journey to recover from the trauma of her husband's violent crimes, and her extensive knowledge of the peace building process worldwide, Shannon Moroney engages the audience in a bigger understanding of what "being elastic" is all about and offers practical advice for building resilience in yourself and your family, workplace, school, community and society.
The "F" Word: The Power of Forgiveness (workshop/retreat)
Part of being human is getting hurt. Sometimes we hurt others; sometimes others hurt us. We even hurt ourselves. Holding onto this hurt and allowing it to dictate the course of our lives can have negative long-term consequences. Forgiveness can change the shape of our journeys. It can release anger, fear, judgement and resentment, and open the door to peace and a positive future.
The "F" Word is an experiential workshop conducted in a circle format to enable all participants to share equally in an exploration of what forgiveness may or may not represent for them. A series of exercises and story telling offers a rich and thoughtful perspective designed to connect the individual to his or her own story. This workshop can be adapted to groups of different sizes and compositions, from youth to divorcees to mental health professionals to prison inmates. An expanded version is also available for day and weekend retreats.
Participants are invited to explore some common misconceptions about forgiveness, the benefits and potential drawbacks of forgiveness, the role of apology, self-forgiveness and situations without the potential for dialogue or remorse.
- Workshop Leader
- Author Appearance