More meditations on restorative justice
from the entry by kario on The Writing Life:
….It wasn't until I saw my molester as a human being that I began to heal my own profound wounds. I spent years in therapy, took lots of different anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, started yoga, and came to a better place, but the REAL freedom from pain came when I forgave him. Not in person (I don't honestly even know if he is alive today), but in my heart.
That doesn't mean that I don't still feel the impact of his behavior in my life and it doesn't mean I would have the courage to meet him face-to-face if I had the opportunity, although I hope I would. It means that I acknowledge that he made a big mistake and, as a human being, he was entitled to do that. It doesn't mean that he is absolved of any wrongdoing, especially since I suspect he molested lots of other children as well, but it means that I don't feel as though I can pass judgment on him and his life. I certainly don't believe he deserves to be killed for his actions, although I did for many, many years.
'Why I must speak out to stop my rapist being freed'
After Dr Claire Chung was raped by a stranger at knifepoint, she took two extraordinary and courageous steps.
Firstly, she confronted him face to face after his conviction, as part of a programme known as “restorative justice”. Then she waived her anonymity, speaking of the decision she took to face the man who had attacked her.
Now she is speaking out again, this time to voice her concerns at a parole system which could free Stephen Allen Gale early next year.
Power of One: Restorative justice couples victims with offenders
from the article on CTV.ca:
....A woman named Marité has been taking part in the process, not by facing her sexually-abusive father, but rather, another man who committed similar acts.
She said that results have helped her cope with the damage she suffered.
"For him it was like I was his daughter," said Marité. "And I was able also to express my anger to him and that's what he wanted rather than silence from his daughter."
"I can now go forward because I'm not bound to my father anymore. I can leave him go."
Restorative justice in a case of serious sexual assault
....I was raped twice, at knifepoint, by a man who had been released from prison, just 24 hours earlier. I was his 27th victim. I reported the crime immediately. He had walked off abruptly in the middle of the attack and I was sure of 2 things: he had done this before and he would do it again.
I was believed and the rapist was caught, sentenced and returned to prison. Justice was done. Since the assailant pled “guilty” he was allowed a third off his tariff and the Judge, “to spare me any further distress”, proceeded quickly to his decision. Although I was in court, nobody looked at me and nobody heard me.
Crime victims turning to restorative justice
from the article by Frazer Maude on Sky News:
...[F]or an increasing number of victims, restorative justice has helped them move on with their lives in a way they never thought possible.
Joanne Nodding is one such victim. She told Sky News how she feared for her life when she was raped almost 10 years ago, and how even seeing her attacker being sentenced to life did little to help her achieve closure.
Penn State's response to child sexual abuse: What about the victims?
by Lisa Rea
As the story comes out in more detail about the alleged sexual abuse of children by Jerry Sandusky, former assistant football coach at Penn State, the coverage of the story seems to be more about the actions of veteran coach Joe Paterno--his resignation or the university's decision to fire him.
After the crime: the power of restorative justice. Dialogues between victims and violent offenders
Violence, rape, murder and other abusive crimes: not usually pleasant subjects to read about, yet Susan Miller's book left this reader with a positive feeling. This is largely due to Miller herself, who presents the information in a straightforward, sympathetic but non-judgemental way; to Kim Book, who started the organization Victims' Voices Heard after her daughter was murdered; and to the participants themselves. Not all victims felt able to forgive, and this should not be a criterion for 'success'; but they followed the Amish precept: don't balance hurt with hate. Not all offenders accepted full responsibility. Miller divides restorative justice into diversion, taking the place of the criminal justice process for relatively minor cases, and 'therapeutic' RJ, where the offender is already in custody or has served a prison term. These cases are all in the latter category.
Is restorative justice suited for gender-based violence?
from Sylvia Clute's article on Genuine Justice:
Feminists have long decried the deficiencies in the traditional criminal law system when it comes to gender-based violence. The criminal law system fails victims, offenders and the community; there are no winners. Most cases are never reported, and the reported cases have a high attrition rate. Few cases are actually prosecuted.
According to Melanie Randall, a law professor with expertise in legal remedies for gender violence, the needs of the victim are diametrically opposed to the needs of the criminal law system. That system is driven by complex rules; it challenges the victim’s credibility; she has no control; she must tell the state’s story instead of a coherent narrative around what happened to her. There is no protection against recall, and there is no safe face to face confrontation.
Listening to crime victims: North Carolina restorative justice conference
by Lisa Rea
When crime victims speak about the effect violent crime has had on their lives you have to listen. On June 9th I moderated a crime victims roundtable during the 3rd Annual Restorative Justice Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina coordinated this year by Campbell University Law School. The roundtable called "Listening to Crime Victims: Their Journeys Toward Healing" was sponsored by the Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing. The four victims of violence who told their stories were Bill Pelke, chair, Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing (Alaska), Stephen Watt, Stephen Watt Ministries (Wyoming) , Bess Klassen-Landis, musician and teacher (Vermont), and Kim Book, executive director, Victims Voices Heard (Delaware). No matter how many crime victims panels I have moderated the stories are always riveting and often what I hear the victims say is new even when I am familiar with the stories. I learn something new as the victims move along in their lives---their own personal journeys.
'Why I confronted the man who raped me’
Dr Claire Chung, who has agreed to waive her anonymity in The Sunday Telegraph, was raped twice in the stinking stairwell of a multi-storey car park, and the crime caused her life to collapse “like a pack of cards”.
Dr Chung, a highly regarded GP with more than 20 years’ medical experience, lost her job, her marriage and her home after being raped by Stephen Allen Gale, who had been released from prison for another sexual offence just one day earlier.
But following the attack, which she described in chilling detail, Dr Chung negotiated with the authorities to allow a meeting with Gale in prison.
The meeting was organised as part of a “restorative justice” scheme, which brings criminals face to face with their victims.