Truths from an offender, a victim, a survivor, an inspiring human being: Offenders no More
The title of this article is provocative, but hopefully not misleading. By “Offenders no More”, I do not wish to suggest that we can ever stop harm from happening. We are indeed capable of committing the greatest, but also the most shameful acts in nature. The title aims to provoke a new way of viewing “offenders” and through this new perspective adopt positive approaches that see them as individuals with whom we (“the victims”, the “community”, the judges, the researchers and so on) are already connected with.
My focus here is to help us go back to what our original justice systems prioritised. That was the act of restoration. And let me explain this further. Too much energy has been spent on the law that a harmful act violates. Here, I want us to think about the bond that pre-exists between us all including “the victim” and the “offender”. For some, this bond is a product of our biology. For others, it is the consequence of our spiritual roots.
I am asking for this reflection as a legally trained servant of justice and without the expectation that the criminal justice system must collapse. My interview with Jim may help you understand my reasons:
Who is Jim and what is the path that brought you here today?
"First and foremost, I am a survivor. Even though I still live with the effects of the crimes perpetrated on me when I was young and defenseless. These crimes or hurts as I call them created barriers and impenetrable walls that kept me in my own personal prison of pain for years. Wanting to get out but never knowing how. From that place of pain and shame, I perpetrated all my crimes against others and against myself!!