Restorative Justice Processes
Language matters - Restorative justice language still often takes shortcuts by using terms like victim and offender. On one hand, it's direct and dictates ownership of the roles related to harmful events, yet many situations are often not "that simple" and the energy associated with terms like offender and victim can block learning and growth that restorative justice intends.
Personal Responsibility - What was my role then? Response-I-Ability. Is it possible to say, “I did that.” How can I move beyond myself to understand what happened? How and why I participated? and what can I learn about myself, others and the situation?
Accountability - What is my role now? How can I make amends? How can I participate in repairing the harm and restoring the relationship? and the community? Including creating community, if it seems like it didn't exist, or I didn't feel part of it.
A full restorative justice process involves a person or close representative from each of the three main circles/groups. There are many services and programs for each circle and for each pair of overlapping circles. If you want help navigating some choices – and an internet search becomes overwhelming, feel free to reach out for a consultation.
What happens when you feel unsafe? Do you understand your natural response? We all developed our own ways of staying safe as kids. Those responses (really, re-actions) made sense then but may not serve us now. It’s important to become aware of your reaction so you can more easily choose to respond.
Deanne's other services address many aspects of self-awareness.
Shame Lock - when the fight/flight/freeze system freezes, the ability to comprehend is at least diminished and probably extinguished. Without understanding, meaningful action is almost impossible. In retributive punishment systems, like prisons, the time to "thaw," find meaning, and make amends are impeded, if not completely hijacked by the traumatic environment that keeps one frozen.
I propose that Shame Lock plays a significant role in systemic racism: we can't change what we can't see and understand. If our innate value system senses injustice and our amygdala triggers, regardless of the fight/flight/freeze tendency, our brain is offline, unable to process or respond. Meaningful action is challenged by an innate need to survive; an accurate assessment of safety is inaccessible.
Colorado Restorative Justice Resources: https://www.rjcolorado.org/