project leader
Amrita S
location
1807 Jackson Street
(Bay Area, California )
latest update rss
No updates yet.

the project

Today, one in four women will be sexually assaulted between the time she enters college and graduates college, and the risk of sexual assault is even higher for young women who do not attend college. These experiences can have a major impact on people’s health and wellbeing, education, careers and relationships. Only 13% of campus rape victims “make any kind of report to police or campus officials, including health services, counseling, and conduct administrators” (Campus PRISM Project).

Many survivors who do not report their assaults desired some form of healing and accountability, but were not satisfied with the existing options available to them for reporting. Furthermore, the goals of campus investigation processes can be incompatible with the needs of survivors – often inflicting additional harm on survivors, called secondary victimization.

Restorative justice can be seen as an additional or alternative means to traditional judicial processes.

Restorative justice on college campuses has been described by Campus PRISM as “a non-adversarial approach to addressing offensive behavior that seeks to identify and repair harm and rebuild trust through facilitated dialogue.” Studies have shown restorative justice to be effective at reducing repeat offenses by perpetrators, as well as reducing PTSD for victims and increasing both parties’ satisfaction with justice processes.

Restorative justice fundamentally shifts power in response to campus sexual assault. In traditional response processes, a survivor, who has already lost power in an assault, then is dependent to the power of an institution that is seeking to answer the questions, “Was a policy violated? What should the punishment be if so?” The vast majority of sexual assault cases never result in responsibility findings; often, perpetrators become more defensive through the process, and the processes are designed to minimize a sense of responsibility, while not supporting assailants in preventing repeat offenses. However, a restorative justice process, the survivor is empowered through a process that asks, “What harm was created? What action can be taken to heal that harm?” The process also asks, “How can the community ensure the person who caused this harm never does it again?” Restorative justice is an optional process for both parties and will only happen if a person who has caused harm acknowledges the harm – rather than denying it – often through extensive “pre-conference” counseling before meeting with a survivor.

While many survivors want restorative justice options and the evidence is extensive about their benefits – and while colleges have community environments and structures, as well as staff protecting confidentiality, that make colleges relatively well equipped to offer restorative justice options – almost no college today offers restorative justice as an option to responding to sexual harm.

Our mission is to promote and advocate for restorative justice to be an additional option for response processes to sexual violence on college campuses – one that can heal harm created and prevent future harm. Our main ongoing project is researching, writing, and developing a written “toolkit” for student activists working to bring restorative justice for Title IX to their campuses. This toolkit will be a holistic guide to building campus support, interfacing with administration, and designing a restorative policy tailored to individual communities. We plan to disseminate our toolkit alongside a centralized resource list and directory of existing resources for students working towards restorative justice for Title IX. Our website will include a contact form for students and others to reach out to us to build connections and support. In addition to researching, writing, and disseminating our toolkit, we plan to begin working towards building a strong national network of student activists and leaders by building relationships with related organizations and interested individuals, attending and presenting at local and national conferences, and advocating for restorative responses to sexual violence in the media. We ultimately want to build a national network of survivors and allies who can advocate for national legislation and direction to support restorative justice as an additional option for response to sexual assault.

the steps

In our first six months, we will create an online toolkit and to connect our toolkit to the communities who need it most. The toolkit will address these main topics: (1) What restorative justice is and what it can look like in practice. (2) Why restorative justice can be a healing option in cases of sexual harm. (3) How to begin advocating for your college or university to adopt a restorative justice practices in instances of sexual harm. (4) How to thoughtfully craft a restorative justice practice that fits the needs of your community and addresses your community’s unique strengths and challenges. (5) Important risks and barriers to using restorative justice for instances of sexual harm and Title IX violations.

6 mo-1 year

This toolkit would be a living document that will continue to grow and take form as we are in contact and receive questions and feedback from those who are utilizing our toolkit over the next six month phase. During the second half of our first year we would work to bring the toolkit to college campus communities across the nation. We would reach out to other existing organizations that in are in alignment with our mission and values.  Our goal is to create a feedback loop with the college campuses we engage with. We are keen to incorporate constructive feedback for how our resources can be shared further and what restorative justice would look like in practice on their college campus. We would attend local and national conferences to disseminate our guide and further build and strengthen connections with students. Throughout these processes, we would also build petitions of survivors and allies demanding restorative justice options as responses to campus sexual assault – at both the local and national levels.

1 year-2 years

In our second year we would continue to update and maintain our toolkit. We would also then gather the anecdotal evidence and stories of students, activists, and survivors in our network to iterate on our stories to share further and feed into the momentum of the restorative justice movement. We would also seek to bring the restorative justice movement into the public consciousness by introducing our narratives and experiences into the media via op-eds, social media, and the creation of a podcast. We believe that an essential component of restorative justice is the power of storytelling. Through the medium of a podcast the listener experiences intimacy, connection, and empathy for the speaker. This offers the opportunity for powerful stories surrounding this issue to be shared in a way that is safe, autonomous (we would never ask storytellers to share more than they are comfortable with), and can connect with listeners. This would further our goal of consciousness-raising around this issue and bring more young people students into this movement.

why we're doing it

We are a predominantly survivor led and survivor founded movement. We faced great pain in the aftermath of our assaults; in addition to the harm created by our assaults, those of us who went through our campus dispute resolution processes faced further harm and re-traumatization at the hands of our universities, and others did not report to our universities because we did not feel the existing reporting options would address our needs. We are advocating for restorative justice options to exist because they are what we would have wanted as an option to support our healing, and for the safety of our communities.

Now in the current political climate, there is more ammunition than ever to attack current policies towards sexual assault on college campuses, if not to regress standards of care even further. 

Our proposed projects will both help us build a base of connected activists and provide them with resources and community support, and will help us raise consciousness through storytelling.

Restorative justice fundamentally changes where power lies after a harm has been created. In a traditional campus or criminal response to a sexual assault, power and decision making lies in someone other than a survivor to answer questions not of “What harm has been caused? What do you need? How can the harm be repaired?” but rather, “Did an action occur that violated the school’s policy?” for example. A survivor will spend hours recounting traumatic details of an assault, only for an individual who was not involved with the incident - most often a white male - to decide whether to devote a university or city’s resources to investigate, and what the determination should be about whether a law or policy was violated and what should be the appropriate punishment if so. In contrast, an RJ approach places more power in the hands of the survivor, who is able to share his or her story, focus on the harm that was caused, and actually address what the survivor’s needs are for how harm can be repaired. RJ processes are also impactful for preventing future harm, and perpetrators and survivors alike have expressed greater satisfaction with RJ processes over traditional options.

Many members of our founding committee have encountered several challenges and setbacks in implementing restorative justice for sexual misconduct on their own campuses, including resistance because of misconceptions, challenges in finding trained facilitators, and challenges with existing judicial infrastructure. These challenges come in addition to the already myriad challenges that survivors and their allies face. There is immense silence and significant under-reporting of sexual violence on college campuses due to shame and social stigma, and sexual harm carries great personal and social trauma. Therefore, we see an inherent and important part of our role as addressing, challenging, and working towards healing trauma, a challenge that we both anticipate and readily accept.

budget

Disbursed budget (10.11.18):

 

 



RAISED = $975.00
less ioby Platform Fee waived
less ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $46.43
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $28.40
TOTAL TO DISBURSE = $900.17

 

Budget

  • $2,500: website domain, hosting and design 
  • $13,000: consulting staff/time on research and writing developing toolkit for student activists 
  • $7,000: staff time training and supporting student activists in initial months, as well as facilitating restorative justice circles among student organizers 
  • $4,500: media, storytelling and marketing 
  • $3,000: conferences and travel for disseminating toolkits, expanding research and field building 


Project Subtotal =  $30,000
ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $1,500
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $900
Total to Raise on ioby = $32,435

 

updates

Sorry, but this project doesn't have any updates yet.

photos

This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration

donors

  • Aisha T.
  • Mackenzie
  • Julia Powell
  • Nina Vasan
  • Andrew Schoen
  • Nanxi
  • Anonymous
  • Morgan
  • HY
  • Ginny Fahs
  • Allison D.
  • Madison