From parallel to intersecting narratives in cases of sexual assault

Keith V. Bletzer, Mary P. Koss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Restorative justice alternatives to criminal justice are designed to balance the needs of victims, offenders, families, friends, and the community at large to achieve social justice, repair of victims, and deterrence of crime. In the model we evaluated from RESTORE (Responsibility and Equity for Sexual Transgressions Offering a Restorative Experience), each offender and victim received individual services and met in guided conferencing to mutually determine reparative actions for the offender. At the exit meeting, the offender, as the responsible person, read a written apology to the survivor/victim. In this article, we analyze the expression of empathy in the apology, in which the initial mitigation of responsibility in early documents was replaced by acknowledgment of harm to the survivor/victim and acceptance of responsibility for the assault. Those accused of felony rape and those targeting a visible person in cases of misdemeanor indecent exposure expressed greater regret and remorse than offenders of indecent exposure with an indeterminate victim.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-303
Number of pages13
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • empathy
  • interpretive methods
  • language/linguistics
  • lived experience
  • program evaluation
  • recovery
  • violence, against women
  • vulnerable populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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