"When you imagine meeting someone who has 'offended against you', you might not expect much from it.
Research shows that those 'victims' who participate in “restorative justice”, as it's called, experience a much greater sense of justice/fairness/satisfaction than those who just leave justice to the 'professionals' i.e. the criminal justice agencies.
By having a direct interaction with the other person it may be that a way becomes clear of a better way to live in the future; a way with less chance of a repeat of the same incident.
You don't know the benefits until you try; you only know your anger, and underneath that your hurt and, I guess, your fear.
Two questions now:
I don't know your specific grievance, though I do know that at a general level, the risk of not communicating with them is that society fractures further.
- What's the risk of communicating with them?
- What's the risk of not communicating with them?
As most professionals are risk-averse and are often not accountable for the risks of you not communicating with them, only for the risks if you do, the statutory agencies will often provide little support for you to progress with your would-be restorative communication.
In a few special cases the risks of communicating may be higher than the risks of not communicating.It generally is useful to break down the idea of communicating into a range of options about how that might be done and what risks are attached to which way of communicating.Then you can ask two more questions so that your decision serves you well and also serves society well:1)What is the optimum risk for me to take here?and 2) How do I get the support I need to do the best thing here?
We live in a society where we often shy away from the risks of connection with each other, and the fruits of connection with each other. Yes, we need privacy as well; introverts require it for their wellbeing and extraverts require others for their wellbeing. As an intravert connection is harder for me and I do it less easily than others. I'm not asking you to become an extravert but to consider when your choice to share something of yourself serves us all.
At the risk of repeating myself, we live in a society where we often shy away from the risks of connection with each other and by choosing time and again what feels safer, we end up actually being less safe in the world.
If you begin to think about meeting the other, surprise, surprise, I have two questions for that I plea for you to ask first. The obvious question is:
- What do I want from them? (The question of equal, if not greater, value in going to meet someone, be they 'a difficult person' or not, is:)
What do I want for them?
- What do I want for them?
Asking this question is perhaps more powerful than you realise. It is the question, that if you honour it and honour the other person's humanity and potential, makes all the difference.
What gets the best outcomes from any interaction is, I suggest, your intention and ability to maintain a wish to understand the other as well as to be understood. The most useful self-monitoring question is, perhaps, am “I seeking to understand before being understood?”, which is one of the 7 habits of highly effective people, as published by Stephen Covey. (He went on to write 'The 8th Habit” which greatly supports restorative processes because it involves “finding your voice and helping others to find theirs”.
So if we monitor whether mutual comprehension is taking place, though it can seem rude to English people to check that there really is understanding between people; once we've heard back from the other all we really need to know that they do understand, and we have (first?) provided this to them, then there are two people in a position of great opportunity to help the needs get met.I'll return later to the subject of win-win and the wider win-win-win, or systemic win, as I and my friend Paul call it.First I want to celebrate this young woman's choice to go into the zone of communication in the wake of a crime:
For information on how you can get restorative justice in your life contact Mediation Support Ltd or ring Paul Crosland directly on the number shown on the website for 123 telephone mediation