Category: Druidry Written by Nimue Brown
When a person experiences injustice, they can suffer multiple injuries.
Aside from the obvious harm caused by the injustice itself, there can also be damage to sense of self, to confidence, self esteem and things of that ilk. How we handle this as communities can make a great deal of odds to how much damage a person takes. Here are some simple things we can do to help a person recover from experiences of injustice.
Listen. Hear, witness and acknowledge what they’ve been through. Even if it wouldn’t impact on you in the same way, take it seriously. Simply having the distress taken seriously can give a person a lot back.
Be affirming – hearing that other people don’t think it was fair either can really help. If it’s just bad luck, say so. If it was undeserved, say so. Sometimes unjust things happen by chance, and sometimes they are caused deliberately and acknowledging the unfairness either way helps. It means the person suffering knows that no one thinks it is their fault or an appropriate response to them, and this can help a lot.
Don’t talk about silver linings or suggest that everything happens for a reason. This is usually well meant, but it can create needless feelings of responsibility. Sometimes we just need to acknowledge that things are shit and move on. Not everything is a learning experience, not everything will make you a better person, or wiser. Some things we have very little control over. Unless you can see something specific that will be a good outcome from a nasty experience, don’t bring up the idea.
If you are in a position to do something restorative, do it. If someone has been mistreated and you can rebalance things for them, act. Doing nothing always supports bullies, abusers, unfair systems, toxic organisations and problematic cultures. If you say and do nothing you allow injustice to continue. Just saying that you aren’t ok with something helps the person who is injured and helps challenge the culture that enabled the harm.
If you have power, take responsibility. All too often injustices occur and continue because the people with the real power to make change don’t want to do that. It isn’t nice hearing that your company has a sexist culture, or your social group is doing something ableist, and so forth. If you put your comfort ahead of acting justly, then you are part of the problem. If you want to be genuinely good and working for justice you have to be willing to feel uncomfortable. None of us gets everything right, and we need to be forgiving of that while giving ourselves room to improve.
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