Our Philosophy

When we drive our cars, we don’t spend the whole time looking in the rear-view mirror because we could never get where we were going. An occasional glance can be extremely helpful, however. That’s our philosophy when it comes to social justice. We want to spend most of our time focusing our attention on where we are going, not dwelling on the past.

While we may initially be motivated by our anger in the face our current circumstances — sexual violence of epidemic proportions — we do not focus all our attention there. In a world of urgent and seemingly endless need, we don’t want to find ourselves endlessly placing Band-Aids on symptoms of “old world” thinking when we can make more long-lasting strides by transforming the culture from which violence too often emerges. This approach is called Transformative Justice. It seeks to transform the source of the problem.

American mainstream culture values domination and control – where power over others or avoidance of domination continually creates cycles of abuse that feel normal to many of us. We do this dance with our bosses/employees, cops/robbers, parents/children, clergy/church goers, to name a few. Our legal system currently offers us money in compensation for abuse of power and justice in the form of punishment in the tiny fraction of cases that actually prevail. The cost of being a “victim” in our legal system can sometimes be more traumatizing than the harm it was intended to remedy. Neither form of justice (compensatory or punitive) feel satisfying in the long run, nor do they help us feel safer.

Restorative Justice, in contrast, seeks to make the harmed individual “whole.” It focuses the attention on restoring the circumstances for the harmed individual. That’s certainly a big improvement to consider the needs of the seemingly less powerful, but it still doesn’t remedy the future eruptions of the underlying societal illness.

 

Our project seeks to empower individuals to apply innovative interventions of a transformative nature into their own lives, their families, their communities, and society as a whole.

If this sounds like wishful thinking to you, don’t worry. An entire section of our website will be devoted to featuring and honoring those who are accomplishing just that. We call them our Champions, and we celebrate them to inspire ourselves and others.