Sharing – ‘What I had to say mattered’ — how can we provide justice for sexual assault victims beyond criminal trials?

The article below is about Restorative Justice, and idea that has become popular in some instances, because as much as we may not like it, this is true:

“Some of the problems with the criminal justice system can, and should, be addressed through reform. Other problems may be unavoidable in an adversarial system.”

I have been involved in the legal industry close to 15 years now. No, I don’t take part on trials or anything like that, but over the years you learn a lot. And one of the first things you learn is that the system is designed to let both sides tell their stories, challenge the other side and then let a jury, or judge, decide what the truth is.

In child abuse cases, and sexual assault cases, this can often turn into a mess, because telling the story as a victim is an incredibly painful, and stressful thing. Often, our own minds have blocked some of it from memory, or left it a bit fuzzy. Well, fuzzy memories and fragile victims don’t often make it through any process where their stories can be challenged, and challenging the story is a primary part of a court room trial.

We need to look at alternatives. We need to look at what is going to be the best option for the survivor, what makes the most sense in terms of their healing and safety. That may not always correspond with a courtroom. It may not always correspond with this concept of restorative justice. But, we need to have alternatives, because what we do now, ain’t working for too many victims.

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