Hosted by: David Prescott, LICSW, ATSA-F
Guest Speaker: sujatha baliga
Recorded on: April 4, 2023
Length: One Hour
Countless survivors of sexual harm and violence never contact any professional services or law enforcement mechanisms. This doesn’t mean these survivors are not yearning for healing for themselves and accountability for their abusers; rather, it is often the fear of the collateral consequences on their families and communities that keeps them silent. sujatha baliga believes restorative justice can meet these hidden needs at the family and community level, without reliance on systems of punishment.
This webinar interview explores sujatha’s personal journey to restorative justice as a survivor of rape and incest, and the promising advances she is seeing in the field today. She will describe her experiences bringing families and community members together to support survivor’s self-identified needs for healing while simultaneously working with those who’ve caused harm to take responsibility for and repair the harm done. Anyone interested in finding ways to help society reduce the harm caused by physical and sexual violence will find this webinar insightful and even inspiring.
Director, Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice
sujatha baliga’s work is characterized by an equal dedication to crime survivors and people who’ve caused harm. A former victim advocate and public defender, she launched a pre-charge restorative juvenile diversion program under the auspices of a 2008 Soros Justice Fellowship, which has been replicated in eight cities across the nation. In her most recent position as the Director of the Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice, sujatha helped communities implement restorative justice alternatives to juvenile detention.
Today, she’s dedicated to using this approach to end child sexual abuse and intimate partner violence. sujatha is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and conferences; she speaks publicly and inside prisons about her own experiences as a survivor of child sexual abuse and her path to forgiveness.
sujatha earned her A.B. from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and has held two federal district court clerkships. Her personal and research interests include the forgiveness of seemingly unforgivable acts, survivor-led movements, restorative justice’s potential impact on racial disparities in our justice system, and Buddhist notions of conflict transformation. She was named a 2019 MacArthur Fellow.
sujatha’s faith journey undergirds her justice work. A long-time Buddhist practitioner, she’s a lay member of the Gyuto Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Richmond, CA, where she leads meditation on Monday nights. She makes her home in Berkeley, CA, with her partner of 25 years, Jason, and their 16-year-old child, Sathya. She’s working on her first book, about forgiveness.