March 31st: What about the Victims? The Need for Community Accountability (Workshop)

Posted: February 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


Location: TBA
Sponsored by: Rittenhouse: A New Vision and Prisoners’ Justice Film Festival

The festival takes place on the lands of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabek, Huron-Wendat, and Attawandaron Peoples. All events are free (donations welcome), wheelchair accessible, and scent-reduced—please do not use or wear scented products, including essential oils.

The needs of ‘victims’ are not always explicitly discussed when we talk about penal abolition. That may be in part because the label of ‘victim’ is often reserved for the ‘innocent victim’. The one who is perceived to have never harmed others. Unfortunately this value laden framework means that we don’t see people who have been charged with a ‘crime’ as someone who may have been a ‘victim’ at one time in their life. Our perceptions of victim/perpetrator/survivor have been manipulated by systems of oppression (colonialism, racism, capitalism, patriarchy etc). This workshop will help ‘trouble’ the words we use to describe those who have experienced and perpetrated ‘harm’. We will also be discussing how the needs of ‘victims’ are not being met by our current criminal (in)justice system. We will be running the workshop in a peacemaking circle so come prepared to participate in the format of community accountability processes.

Joan Ruzsa is the coordinator of Rittenhouse, an abolitionist organization that advocates for community accountability and transformative justice models as alternatives to incarceration.

Giselle Dias is a mixed race, white privileged, Métis activist, community organizer, circle keeper, writer and psychotherapist. Giselle has been doing community organizing and education on prisoners’ rights, penal abolition and transformative justice for the past 20 years.



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