Sexual Assault and Harassment Restorative Justice Healing Circle

Restorative justice is a holistic and autonomous form of conflict transformation in which those who’ve caused or experienced harm, alongside their respective communities of care and a facilitator, collectively practice their best selves to find a way to heal the harm for each other and the community.  It is based on the model of the medicine wheel in First Nations cultures which values balance of the four aspects of our human existence – the mind, emotions, spirituality (or meaning) and the physical. Within the realm of Restorative Justice exists a practice called Circle Keeping which can be used for many reasons, such as building community, learning, peacemaking, healing and conflict transformation.

A Circle is co-created by all participants beginning with an opening ceremony and the construction of a centerpiece created with participants intentions and objects of meaning that have been brought to the Circle. Next, Circle values and guidelines will be built by consensus followed by relationship and trust building involving the sharing of personal stories as sources of wisdom. We’ll then move through some guiding questions that will begin to explore the feelings, concerns and issues as pre-determined by all participants from our previous relationship and trust building, working towards ways we can heal both individually and as a community. A talking piece is utilized to ensure boundaries for those who are speaking and those who are listening and a ceremony is used to close the Circle.

We will be offering a series of Circles to those who’ve experienced sexual assault or harassment.  Our first Circle is an opportunity to step into a safe environment, to express your experience should you choose, and to be listened to and held by the other members of the group. In a Circle there is no debate, there is no judgement, there is only listening and collaboration via group consent.

The Circle will be facilitated by Valeria Gheorghiu of the Law Offices of Valeria Gheorghiu, environmental and civil rights attorney integrating restorative justice into the practice of law and Andy Izenson, Associate Attorney, mediator, and restorative and transformative justice practitioner at Diana Adams Law & Mediation, PLLC, both trained as a Circle Keeper by Kay Pranis, a leading author and restorative justice practitioner. Trauma sensitive opening meditation and light stretching will be lead by Theresa Widmann of Anahata Yoga and Healing Arts.

All are welcome! It is strongly encouraged that those who have experienced harm ask their communities of care to join them for support during this circle. We also invite those who have wisdom or experience on this topic to share their knowledge in a supportive way. There is a suggested donation of $10. No one will be turned away based upon ability to pay. RSVP is required. Sunday, November 18th 3-5pm.