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The challenges of mediating rape.

Madsen, Karin Sten
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Papers presented at the Third Conference of the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, ‘Restorative Justice in Europe: Where are we heading?’, Budapest, Hungary, 14-16 October. Downloaded 22 September 2005.

“How can any woman want to meet the man who raped her? That would be the last thing on earth I would want myself. Are you sure you are not revictimizing the women?” These questions were asked by a journalist visiting Centre for Victims of Sexual Assault in Copenhagen and have often been asked since we began assisting
women in restorative dialogues with the men who raped them. Every year Centre for Victims of Sexual Assault at the University Hospital of Copenhagen (Rigshospitalet) receives about 250 women (and a few men) who have been raped or subjected to attempted raped. Forensic examination, medical and psycho-social treatment is being offered – and since two years also restorative dialogues. The project was started thanks to a few women who had the courage to articulate their wish to make contact with the man who had sexually violated them. It took some time for the staff to hear and comprehend what the women were asking for. We too wanted to protect and shelter the women from the men who had already caused them so much pain. But we realized that by creating a safe place and a supportive institutional frame we had also made it possible for the women to articulate their wish for a dialogue with the men who had raped them. This wish is controversial and is far from being shared by all women. But it is important that a centre like ours develops methods that correspond with the different wishes and needs of the women we receive and that we provide a framework and options for women who wish to take a different road towards healing, justice and closure. (excerpt)


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