Q&A with Rev. Price
What do you mean by “True Justice and Healing”?
When we say “True Justice”, we mean justice beyond that which can be found through the criminal justice system. “True Justice" is the right to know who or what has offended a person or persons. When we say “the pursuit of True Justice”, we are referring to a process that demands and commands transforming the manner in which victims traditionally navigate the criminal justice system. Many things can happen in the criminal justice system, and survivors of homicide may not always experience the result they are hoping for, whatever that result may be. What happens in court is just one part of obtaining True Justice. It is the homicide survivor’s effort to achieve a sense of renewed hope and transformation, a new perspective and direction that starts a healing process in all aspects of their life. True Justice seeks to restore to health the six vital areas of the survivor's life: physical, mental, emotional, social, financial, and spiritual. We help people to learn new, healthy ways of healing and, ultimately, a new set of tools to help them deal with the ongoing challenges and traumas of life that we all face. Those who have experienced True Justice can then help those they love to do the same.
What is “Healthy Healing”?
“Healthy Healing” – as opposed to “Unhealthy Healing” – is one of our most important goals for the people with whom we work. So what is the difference? Many mental health issues result from unresolved trauma. We think we have healed from a traumatic event and have “moved on”, but we sometimes find out differently when we experience a new traumatic event. This new event (in the work that we do, the death by homicide of a loved one) acts as a trigger, and we re-experience the original trauma in addition to the new one. Healthy healing is the process of learning new coping mechanisms, to be able to deal with the new and ongoing stresses of life in a healthier way. When a homicide survivor is able to talk about their experience, and to forgive those responsible, these lessons have been learned, and are able to be applied.
What is “Comprehensive Caring”?
“Comprehensive Caring” is another one of the things we aim to provide, and what it means is caring for the wide variety of needs that sometimes emerge as a survivor of homicide goes through the grieving process. These needs can range from the need to be informed of their rights within the criminal justice system, to the need to receive counseling for sexual abuse or other unresolved preexisting trauma which has come to the surface as a result of the grief from the homicide. As we began our work with survivors of homicide, the need for this type of comprehensive caring became very clear because, as described above, so many people suffer from unresolved trauma. Since very often these previous traumas are triggered by the death of a loved one by homicide, without the comprehensive caring that we provide, they can become an obstacle to the healthy healing that everyone has a right to experience in their lives.
What is “revictimization”?
“Revictimization” is what can occur when the family and friends of a homicide victim are forced to relive the trauma of the homicide. Most survivors of violent crime are unaware of the role they may be forced to play in the criminal justice system, which varies on a case by case basis, but can include many potentially upsetting things. They can end up being what we call “revictimized” by having to experience the trauma of the initial event all over again. This revictimization can be very serious, and can sometimes be avoided by simply preparing the survivor of homicide beforehand and letting them know what is ahead during the trial. Sadly, this is often overlooked by those within the criminal justice system itself, and this is why organizations such as CTJH are so desperately needed to fill this void, and to be advocates on behalf of the survivors.
Why do you do what you do? What is your ultimate vision for CTJH?
My ultimate vision for CTJH is that of a person walking through a dead, burned-out forest, looking for the shoots of new green life that start to become visible as life begins the long journey back. I have always prayed for the ability to restore loved ones back to their families; I deeply wanted to spare them the pain of grief but, of course, that’s a power that God has not given me, or any of us here on Earth. What God has given me is the power to help those who are left behind to go forward with a set of precious memories of their loved ones, intact as they face new possibilities for their lives. To start to look for those signs of new life in the middle of the devastation that surrounds them. To help them find a way forward through the pain of loss.
What is it that you do not do?
Staff and volunteers at The Center for True Justice and Healing act in a lay-counseling capacity and are not licensed counselors or lawyers. As peers and co-survivors, we will share our experiences, help you navigate the criminal justice system, and mentor you through your feelings of grief and sorrow. Together, we will navigate paths to healing. Our work with you and your family is confidential. Information shared with staff, volunteers, and other participants in support groups is private. There are certain exceptions to these privacy rights that are explained fully to you before any relationship between CTJH and a survivor is initiated.