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What is injustice?

Injustice is defined as, “lack of fairness or justice” and “an unjust act or occurrence.” Taking it a step further, what is the meaning of “unjust?” It is defined as, “not based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.”

So, who determines what’s “morally right and fair?” Recently, our social media feeds have been flooded with videos of various criminal acts that the general public finds offensive and tragic. The common description of the acts portrayed in these videos is “injustice.”

In the world of victim services, we see injustice every day. A teenager in such despair that she’s standing in a busy street crying for somebody to run over her due to the abuse and despair she feels in her life. An abused mother who loses her job and her home fighting her powerful abusive husband for divorce. A college-age victim of sexual violence with no support services available to her. A young man whose being trafficked that the system describes as “a troubled child who likes having sex with older men.”

You won’t find videos portraying the suffering of any of the aforementioned cases. So, are they instances of injustice? Must we produce a slick video or photo of horrible abuse to convince the American public of injustice? Who demands that? The media or the public?

Should victims have to be subjected to public scrutiny before their case is deemed “unjust?” Does a victim have to lose all privacy to be given the same support and sympathy given to an abused dog or horse?

What does it take to involve the public in the process of government and governmental response? Do we have to SEE a photo or video in our social media feed or on the local news to feel empathy for a victim?

Time and time again, we find ourselves hoping and working for better laws and policies to protect victims, but the real voices we need are the general public. Those unaffected, unengaged individuals who are unmoved unless they get to see it.

My staff and I hope for the day that the American public engages on the issues of justice or injustice because they feel empathy for what’s happened to victims. Not because a victim was expected to lose all privacy to earn that support.

“Justice” defined as “the quality of being fair and reasonable” is really what we’re looking for.

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