The Truth and Reconciliation commission
Black Women’s Blueprint's held the 2016 Tribunal of the Black Women’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, from April 28-May 1, 2016, as part of the International Decade of People of African Descent at the United Nations. The Truth Commission reflected a continued process five years in the making, involving national grassroots activism, direct service healing practice and participatory action research by Black Women’s Blueprint and survivors across the country on sexual violence as a human rights atrocity against women and girls of African descent past and present, which has never been acknowledged or sufficiently addressed. The Black Women’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was the first of its kind in the nation to focus on rape and sexual assault against Black women in the United States. Women and girls of African descent, many of whom were denied access and assistance from the criminal justice system, began to organize, realizing their own and collective transformation could not happen without public recognition and acknowledgment of the injustices and harms they had experienced. Out of these early discussions—first in New York City, and later in cities across the country such as Washington D.C., New Orleans, Mississippi, and Chicago—the BWTRC was born. Our Mandates:
Truth. Justice. Healing. Reconciliation.
Our First Findings
These narratives were collected by Black Women's Blueprint. All narratives are completely anonymous, and no information shared with the analysis team allowed the identification of any individual providing data. The objective of the qualitative analysis was to create a coding schema and then code the narrative text to align with the four focus areas of the evaluation:
Truth – did the survivor have access to a platform to speak their truth?
Justice – was there justice for the survivor?
Healing – did the survivor take action to do something for themselves?
Reconciliation – how has the survivor restored themselves to the community?
The coding schema was developed in consultation with the client. A training session for the coders was conducted on March 29, 2019. All coders were instructed on the objective of the coding as well as the mechanics of the data entry. A total of 127 narratives were coded (one narrative was telling the story of another survivor, they themselves were not sexually abused and is found in Appendix B), of these 13 (or 10%) were randomly selected for review to ensure coding was conducted as accurately as possible.
The goal is to determine if the survivor has access to a platform to speak their truth.
The goal is to determine if there was justice for the survivor.
The goal is to determine if the survivor feels that they have healed.
Sexual assault causes a breach of trust, has there been any reconciliation?
These are our first findings, a preview of all the testimonies, stories and survey data. The final and full report should be expected by Spring/Summer 2019.