Restorative Justice And Sexual Abuse
CRJU 3327 01
5 February 2019
Restorative Justice and Sexual Abuse
What is restorative justice? Restorative justice is concerned with healing victims' wounds, restoring offenders to law-abiding lives, and repairing the harm done to interpersonal relationships and the community. It seeks to involve all stakeholders and provide opportunities for those most affected by the crime, to be directly involved in the process of responding to the harm caused. At the moment, here in the United States the criminal justice system is based on retributive justice over restorative justice (Bohmert,et,al,2018). Retributive justice is where the offender receives punishment in proportion to the harm he or she caused their victim and are punished accordingly. Restorative justice is seen as a social practice that can potentially end the need for incarceration and the harsh punishments towards criminals.
Sexual abuse plagues people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicity and even gender. Being a male does not stop the fact that you can be a victim of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can range from making a sexual reference. For example, calling a female “whore”, “slut” etc., this goes for males as well. There are many types of sexual abuse and they happen around the world whether or not you want to accept the fact that this takes place daily. Sexual assault or also known as sexual abuse is any sort of sexual activity that individual does not agree to take part in (Gang,et,al,2019). These actions include foreplay that one does not give consent to, vaginal, anal or oral penetration, attempted rape as well as child molestation. Sexual abuse is either verbal or it can be visual. It is something that brings force upon an individual to be in unwanted sexual contact. Later in this paper, there will be a great example on sexual abuse which is the case of Larry Nassar who was finally brought to justice after most of the USA gymnastics team came forward after years of being sexually assaulted by their team doctor. It will show how the victims came forward as a whole to share their stories.
There are many programs included in restorative justice that are list below:
Dialogue between the victim and offender
According to the reports, in the United States 18% of women had been the victims of sexual abuse and in most of the cases; they are raped by someone they already know. The fear of women being victimized of sexual abuse snatches away their independence and freedom. Though many of the feminists were against this system by taking an in-depth analysis of this system of justice, it could be seen that there are many other feminist concepts that would be served by this system of justice. From a feminist point of view, RESTORE provides such consequences that would help in minimizing that rate of sexual violence as compared to the present form of the justice system. Secondly, conferencing would allow the feminists to raise their voice. The restorative system is going to help for incorporating a support system that would help both the victim and the offender for maintaining a good relationship in the community.
It is also going to address inequality economically. Taking a look at another study that has been done for knowing how the feminists are going to take this form of the justice system, where the offender is not going to be punished for his crime and women have to forget all the abuse and sufferings that they suffered, just for the sake of promoting peace in society. From the feministic point, it could be said that it became quite wired, to have a discussion with the person who has been sexually or verbally abused. There are many pieces of evidence that most of the cases of domestic violence that are dealt by following the standard ways or processes that are followed by the courts mostly fails to meet needs of victims who are being victimized with the social and sexual violence.
At the same time, the system of justice (Restorative system) that makes decisions about such cases of sexual abuse tries to bargain behind the closed door fails to meet the demands of the community as well. By looking at the research that has been done by Katherine, it could be seen that there have been presented four models that are most close to women victimization, are family group conferencing, community reparations and victim-offender conferencing and most importantly healing circles that would help the victim is getting back to the normal life (Ptacek,et,al,2009). One of the most common examples of healing circle could be observed in North American, where support is provided to the family of the victims. By keeping into account different perspectives that have been given by various researchers and scholars, it could be seen that relation of gender issues and international security cannot be ignored.
By taking a look at the present situation, it could be seen that this system of restorative system is offering more opportunities, by making this system of justice more safe and effective for both the offender and the victim. Though at present, this system of justice is not being given the place that it should be given but many researchers considered it as a good way of minimizing the violence against women. It is a great way to eventually deconstruct oppression system that triggered the gender violence. Some are supporting this way of treating and reforming lives of offenders while at the same time many are opposing this idea. Another group that is against the restorative system of justice claims that there would be more chances of violence against women, they would be re-victimized and more importantly there safety is going to be compromised (Koss,et,al,2014). Cases of sexual abuse are very different in clergy as compared to the cases that happens in general society. Cases that happen in clergy involve secular and religious aspect. According to Douglas, legal proceeds that involve the case of sexual abuse in the clergy are much more complex. Records claim that most of the child who becomes a victim of child-abuse does not come on the front until they are adults.
In American, the retributive system of justice has been working since long that is casting negative impacts on both offenders and victim, so another form of the justice system that is known as the restorative system is being promoted so that offender could be provided with an opportunity to correct them with the consent of the victim. Efforts are being put for implementing the restorative system of justice and people are being taken into confidence so that a transformation could be made in the policies. Authorities are trying to make policies that would introduce restorative justice system.
The implication of restorative system could be viewed in the modern society in the USA, as promotion of this system of justice would inculcate in individuals, a feeling that offender must not be punished for the actions that would arise in him more negativity and maybe he would target other people as well, who would be his next target of sexual abuse. It has been seen that restorative system of justice provides offenders an opportunity of repairing the relationship between offender, victim, and community. Restorative system of justice also helps in addressing and understanding the circumstances that pushed the offender towards the crime.
Bohmert, M. N., Duwe, G., & Hipple, N. K. (2018). Evaluating restorative justice circles of support and accountability: can social support overcome structural barriers?. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 62(3), 739-758.
Gang, D., Loff, B., Naylor, B., & Kirkman, M. (2019). A call for the evaluation of restorative justice programs. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 1524838019833003.
Koss, M. P., Wilgus, J. K., & Williamsen, K. M. (2014). Campus sexual misconduct: Restorative justice approaches to enhance compliance with Title IX guidance. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 15(3), 242-257.
Ptacek, J. (Ed.). (2009). Restorative justice and violence against women. Oxford University Press.
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