A Restorative Justice practioner considers how crime impacts sex.

This may very well be the craziest blog title yet and I’m not doing it for the google rankings either.  I better get right to the point and start explaining that title.

St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program reaches out to survivors of traffic fatalities, suicide, homicide and deaths caused by underage drinking and drug over-dose.  We invite survivors to share their stories.  This can be done in the context of Restorative Response Circles, speaking at other sessions or participating as a community member in Circles.  I work with all of our volunteers.

I believe that “harm” is in the eye of the beholder.  Who we are at the time of impact, impacts how we will deal after.  I want to help people heal.  Be it victim, offender, community member.  I want to understand trauma, loss, healing, victimization, survivorship, re-entry challenges, recovery and any other personal experience that might relate to how we, as people can be more compassionate, more just and more in respectful relationships.

So I read.

I am reading Touching the Edge: A Mother’s Spiritual Pathy from Loss to Life by Margaret Wurtele.  Margaret’s son Phil was killed on a climbing rescue mission on Mt. Rainer.  The book takes you through her experience of this tragic grief.  I am reading it to be better prepared to relate to people I work with (and I love stories of resilience).  I am learning a great deal in Margaret’s story.

One aspect of her story, really made me aware.  She knew her relationship with her husband needed to survive.  She knew their intimacy was expressed, as most couples, with sex.  She very tastefully, shares the pain of being in grief and having sex.  It is in the book if you to know more.

I don’t talk to SCVRJP volunteer about their sex lives.  However, realizing and knowing that NOTHING is the same after the loss of a family member, and considering that even your sex life can be impacted by crime makes sense.  Restorative Justice is all about relationships.  Who we are, is impacted by crime.  Our relationship to ourselves changes as crime occurs.  One of our most intimate expression of ourselves is in sex (I think).  As a person who cares deeply in helping others, spending time understanding the experience of others helps me with my empathy.  So I was considering how crime impacts sex.

I hope to never know the pain of losing a child.  I hope to help many grieving parents.  I now know, crime impacts sex.

Restorative Justice is an overarching philosophy.  It is not a checklist curriculum.  Restorative Justice calls on me to be the best I can be for who I am with at any moment in time.  I have learned to let go of feeling I am having too much compassion for an offender.  I give the offender all the compassion I have at that moment.  I know when I am with the victim, I will have compassion for the victim, all the compassion I can have at that moment.  Learning to have empathy helps me have compassion.

It’s very different than being neutral – that would mean I take neither side.  Restorative Justice takes 3 sides: victim, offender, community member.  By reading and learning about the loss of life, I can deepen my well of understanding and that helps all those sides.

 Up next Ten Degrees of Reckoning by Hester Rumberg.  The true story of Judy, who survives an accident where her husband and two children were killed.