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.
The night I forgave my daughter’s killer
....I knew the kidnapper could be liable for the death penalty, and I wanted him to hang high. However, I had always tried to live my faith with integrity, and my conscience was calling me to forgive my enemy. I realized if I gave myself to that desire for revenge, it would obsess and consume me. So, I promised to cooperate with whatever could move my heart from fury to forgiveness.
One year to the minute after the kidnapper had taken Susie, he called me at my home in Michigan. He was calling to taunt me. Even though he was smug and nasty, to my own real surprise, I was filled with genuine concern and compassion, which thwarted his intention to rile me up and then hang up.
from SBS Dateline:
Dateline has a touching story of friendship between a woman who was shot and critically injured, and the stranger who attempted to kill her.
Jackie Millar took years to recover after she was shot in the head. She remains almost blind and permanently brain damaged, unable to even remember bringing up her own sons.
I just hugged the man who murdered my son
While most StoryCorps interviews are between family and friends, this conversation comes from two people who easily could have been enemies.
In 1993, Oshea Israel was a teenage gang member in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One night at a party Oshea got into a fight, which ended when he shot and killed another boy.
Now 34, Oshea has finished serving his prison sentence for second-degree murder.
Forgiveness and reconciliation is topic of PBS documentary of U.N. humanitarian
“When you don’t forgive others, you keep building a hell inside yourself.”
Rose Mapendo remembers the horrors she endured in her native Congo — beatings, rapes, tortures, being forced to watch the execution of her husband. And giving birth to their twins inside a death camp cell, cutting the umbilical cords with a stick. Yet she is a forceful advocate of forgiveness and reconciliation.
....The documentary’s title refers to a quote from Mapendo: “One person alone cannot push an elephant, but many people together can.”
There Be Dragons: A film that shows that forgiveness can change the future
There Be Dragons is a powerful story of war, tragedy, love, forgiveness, and redemption. Set during the often overlooked horrors of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, it tells the story of two boyhood friends who enter the seminary, but when the war interrupts their lives, one leaves the seminary and chooses the life of a soldier though driven by jealousy and revenge. The other remains in the seminary and becomes a priest just when the provisional government of Spain is on the brink of murdering over 6,000 priests and religious. Each will struggle to find the power of forgiveness over the forces that tear their lives --and their friendship --apart.
"Forgive us our trespasses": The complexity of forgiveness
Forgiveness is such an obvious part of religious commitments and human sensibility that the conversation around giving and getting forgiveness is often mechanistic, sentimental or superficial. Fortunately, veteran filmmaker Helen Whitney is offering a rare chance to shine a clear light on the question of forgiveness in all its complexities, horror and hope in her two part series entitled: Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate to be shown on April 17th and 24th on PBS stations around the country.
....Whitney's film takes the viewer on a slow roller coaster of emotions. Instead of finding hundreds of talking heads and moving speedily from idea to idea, the documentary lingers on a relatively few cases; letting the viewer sift through the layers of complexity and raw drama. The shooting of the Amish School children, a victim of a brutal attack with an axe, the murder of a police officer by a 1960's revolutionary, a woman knowingly infected with AIDS -- different life situations that challenge the breezy rhetoric of 'forgive and forget' and move deeper into genuine wrestling with the emotional and spiritual demands inherent in forgiveness.
Could you forgive this? Liz Securro's road to forgiveness
from the article by Heide Banks:
Liz Securro knows ﬁrst-hand the consequences of self-judgment and the rewards of self-forgiveness. In her recent book, "Crash Into Me: A Survivor's Search for Justice," Liz shares her story that spanned 20-plus years and stemmed from a rape she endured in college. You do not have to relate to the magnitude of her circumstances to be able to learn from her journey of self-forgiveness.
....It wasn't until she started dealing with the much deeper issues that she was able to regain herself. At some point it stopped for her. She took the clothes she had, and she burned them in a cemetery. She was tired of being the victim. What she realized was that although something was done to her, what she did to herself was far worse. She was judging herself for her behaviors. Her life really took hold when she was able to forgive herself for all those things that she did, which none of us would have ever judged her for.
We must not forgive too easily, says Archbishop of Canterbury
It may be a key Christian principle but forgiving too easily can be dangerous, the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested.
Rowan Williams has warned that easy forgiveness can make suffering appear not to matter.
In BBC1’s What is the Point in Forgiveness?, to be broadcast on Good Friday, the Archbishop also concedes that it is not fair to expect victims of abuse, rape or torture to turn the other cheek with ease.
Non-formal education in the Middle East: Giving adolescents a second chance
In May 2005 violence exploded during a soccer game among students who had just enrolled in their town’s first NFE class. Angry over a lost goal, Humam kicked his younger teammate Ayman to the ground. This kind of violence early in the programme jeopardized the entire approach to alternative education. Ayman was a shy, defenseless boy. Other boys like him might feel threatened, and the safety of the learning environment might dissolve if violence went unchecked.
The teaching facilitators decided that the violent incident would best be resolved by the students themselves ruling on justice for the harmed and a penalty for the offender. They announced a trial – with students taking the roles of judge, jury, prosecution and defense – and explained the legal process to the two boys and the other students.