In order to respond more effectively to harm and abuse within our communities, a growing number of activists are developing liberatory programs to address harm and trauma without resorting to oppressive and retaliatory systems. Micah Frazier works with Generation 5, a group committed to ending child sexual abuse in five generations. They use transformative justice to help train community members to better recognize and respond to harm.
Full story: http://www.silenceopensdoors.com/2010…
:::::TRANSCRIPT::::: I work with Generation 5, and we are a national organization based in Oakland, and our work is really about ending child sexual abuse within 5 generations. We do that by building the capacity of communities themselves to respond to, intervene in, and ultimately prevent child sexual abuse using libratory approaches to violence. And the one that we really use is called transformative justice, and transformative justice is a libratory approach that’s about responding to current instances of violence, while at the same time transforming the conditions that allow violence to happen in the first place. We really believe that in order to prevent violence, we have to actually change and transform the conditions, the way that we treat each other, the things that we’re taught- that perpetuate violence in the first place.
You don’t have to be an activist to understand violence and to understand that as an oppressed person, the state and the state systems- particularly the police- often create more violence and harm in our communities. As people of color, as queer people, as trans people, as people who on a regular basis experience violence and oppression- we have a really good understanding of where that violence and oppression comes from. People may have different language for it, but it’s pretty easy for people to understand that we need a different way. Even if you just look at- and talk to people about- do the current systems that we have actually work? And most people will say no- they don’t work. It’s really easy for us, actually, to go into communities and start having these conversations and the majority of people we find will say ‘ yeah- we need something different because what we have doesn’t work’, you know? We also find when we go into oppressed and marginalized communities a lot of folks aren’t calling the police because they know that bringing the police into their communities-into their lives- actually creates openings for more harm, you know? So it’s not just activists and organizers, it’s everyday community folks who are already in a place of not trusting the police, not wanting to call in law enforcement and really understanding that those responses that we have don’t work and often create more harm and chaos in their lives and don’t often result in the outcome that they actually wanted.
Typically we start people with a three day training, and what that is is really an introduction to child sexual abuse and transformative justice. So we do a lot of work on teaching people about what child sexual abuse is, how it happens, the different forms, a lot about trauma, right? So then the impact of child sexual abuse on us- both short term and long term- the impact of that trauma. Um…how people will often navigate that trauma in ways that sometimes can be harmful or not in alignment with who they actually want to be in the world. And then we also do some education about offenders- people who do harm. Helping people really understand that offenders are created- not born- and that that is a behavior that can be transformed, right? And that once somebody does harm doesn’t mean that they will always do that, right? And actually we’ve been really trying to stay away from the language of “offender” /”perpetrator” , and really talk about “people who offend/abuse” so that we really get to understand that people aren’t their behavior, right, and that people can shift because behavior can change and shift. And then the other piece of the training is really giving people an introduction to the politics, practices, and principles of transformative justice. Really getting them to look at how could they practice this in their own communities, in their own context, in their own lives. What might need to change in terms of language or translation? What principles might be missing that might be crucial to their community, you know? So it’s really an opportunity for people to get an introduction. Also to do some assessment of themselves around their own capacity to practice transformative justice.