The community cost of injustice

There’s an obvious upfront cost to injustice that relates very immediately to whatever has gone wrong. What seems like a small unfairness to someone not immediately affected by it can seem like a small problem, not worth the hassle of sorting out. To the person on the receiving end, that small wrong can be life destroying. However, there is a larger and more subtle cost, one that we keep overlooking. Injustice breaks relationships and undermines communities. All the injustice that stems from prejudice. All the injustice that is intrinsic to rape and abuse. Social and financial injustice. All of it.

So, you’re affected by something, and it hurts you, and damages your life, your wellbeing. I’ll leave it to you to decide what sort of injustice to imagine or remember at this point. Nothing is done. The system refuses to change, the perpetrator is not tackled, no one says ‘hey that’s not ok and shouldn’t be happening.’ You are left with the immediate damage, and the knowledge that no one cares enough to do anything about it. A second level of hurt comes from this, and that hurt can go deeper than even the initial damage.

If your wounding is trivialised and/or ignored, then your relationship with the people who don’t care, changes. It may be that you have to see the injustice inherent in the system, and you can’t ever unsee it and feel easy about things again. It may be that you start seeing all people from the group that harmed you as a potential threat. You will likely feel cut off, and alienated, and angry, and there’s nowhere to take that because the people who most need to know about it have already made it pretty clear that they don’t care.

We’re doing this all the time. We do it at the state level. We collectively turn away from victims. We close our ears to them, we don’t listen to their stories. If we don’t think something would bother us, we decline to see why it would be a problem for anyone else. Injustice severs the natural bonds between people. It dehumanises all of us. When we look away. When we don’t worry because it’s not happening to us. When we say ‘oh, it’s not that big a deal really, stop making a fuss,’  we contribute. And so there is fear, and mistrust, resentment, bitterness, anger all bubbling away in so many places for so many reasons. It’s been there a long time and it won’t change easily, but change it must.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

10 responses to “The community cost of injustice

  • Bill Watson

    The often overlooked victim is the person wrongly accused of a crime who may be acquitted and yet has no recourse to obtain financial reimbursement from the accuser or compensation from any source, except through civil action against a penniless miscreant, and whose family life, self-esteem and mental equilibrium are destroyed as a consequence. I am dealing with one such of my close acquaintance at present and the entire situation is grossly unfair.

    • Nimue Brown

      Thank you for raising this one – yes, there’s no proper system for restorative justice there, and most certainly there should be. I think if we had a better collective track record around properly prosecuting rape and things of that ilk, to be cleared would be a more meaningful outcome.

  • Tracy Kruse

    This is so personal for me; I have heard those words to stop fussing and it’s not such a really big deal or the real kicker was “But it will cause so much publicity”. Why not publicize those who harm anyone in a personal violation, regardless of Community stature? Yes to all that you have written and more, because I believe this is the disconnect that leads to depression and is at the root of all broken hearts. The ideas that we develop in painful situations, maybe even unconsciously, form the beliefs that create our lives. When in terrible emotional or physical pain, to be dismissed in any way lays the groundwork for separation by self, to protect the self. Fear becomes the default operation. Perhaps even with release and healing, the real change might take generations.

    • Nimue Brown

      thank you for sharing this – the issue of putting face-saving ahead of victim protection underpins so many very wrong things out there, and is a great enabler of abuse. we nee a radical shift in priorities.

  • cassandralathamjones

    Well observed and very well said Nimue. Well Done.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    Good article about something rarely talked about in our society. I posted a link to y FaceBook page and will also post links to three or four other groups as well.

  • Laetitia

    Reblogged this on Laetitia Latham Jones and commented:
    Some valid points here.

  • Sageleaf

    Powerful words here. Ones that everyone needs to take to heart. I believe that one day we shall overcome our shortcomings as humans, but in the meantime, I vow to do all I can to make a difference and help make the world a better place.

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