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Getting Out : Seeking Justice

Justice vs. Revenge

from Albatross - Monday, July 01, 2002
accessed 2769 times

Some random thoughts on the subject

Much has been discussed on this site over the last week on the subjects of justice and revenge. Before going further I’ll refer to a dictionary’s definition for both words.

Justice: ~The dispensing of that which is owing or deserved, such as a reward or punishment.
~ The implementation of law through the judicial system.

Revenge: ~ The act of giving punishment or demanding atonement for a wrong.
~ The desire to retaliate or punish for an offense.

I’ll define it further for the sake of this argument: Justice is the nobler of the two words. The search for justice comes from a desire to see wrongs righted, the weaker protected, and is not motivated by hate or anger. It is approached objectively. Revenge is the darker of the two words. It is often personal in nature and at times motivated by hate, wounded honor, or anger. An esoteric differentiation between the words may be to say that seeking Justice begets “good Karma” and that seeking Revenge begets “bad Karma.”
I do not believe in revenge. I see revenge as a position of weakness. The emotional component of seeking revenges often leaves the seeker frustrated, unfulfilled, and angrier still, if only because most endeavors are best undertaken with a level head. That is not to say that Justice cannot be pursued with passion.
I have heard schemes for action against the family that clearly cross the line into the extra-judicial. While I understand the motives and frustrations behind these schemes, they are the stuff that novels and prison terms are made of. I am loath to see any one of us pay that price…it would be revenge…and it would be bitter.
Any attempt at exacting Justice from the Family must take into account the effects on the innocents. That is not at all to say that we should stay our hand. It just means that we should enter into anything we do with the mind that “ we must take care, lest in fighting the monster, we become the very thing we seek to destroy” (author unknown).
It was recently suggested on this site that destroying the Family should not be the goal, rather the goal should be to work towards acknowledgements and rectification of past abuses, as well as guarantees for the future. I offer my qualified agreement. It is possible to “de-claw the bear” and render the Family into what it pretends to be to outsiders, a “harmless (if unusual) Christian missionary CHURCH” with a controversial past.
As the push for justice against the Cult grows, the whole discussion of justice vs. revenge becomes academic. It is not a matter of if, so much as a matter of when.
Understandably, there will be those who argue against any action against the Family.
I am sure that there are people for every spot on the “ Love the family – hate the family” scale. And perhaps some people whose opinion varies day to day. I think every opinion has value, even if only for the sake of argument. I left the family to be able to exercise my right to the freedoms of speech and thought.
The search for justice/ answers/apologies/rectification/ will continue. The final outcome of this endeavor may turn out to be very different from its original conception.
However it must never become anyone’s “reason for being.” It should always be a useful exercise, and never become one’s “ religion.” If I ever find myself entirely consumed and taken over by this, I will step away.
We were raised to be extremists. It is understandable then that many of us remain so.
In the past two months that I’ve been visiting this site I’ve come across many brilliant and witty people. It has been a pleasure to read their writings, understand their positions and see my experiences played out through the eyes of others. Whether Justice comes today, tomorrow, or never, the interactions I’ve had on this site will contribute greatly to my growing and moving on process.


Reader's comments on this article

Add a new comment on this article

from Shaka
Thursday, March 04, 2004 - 10:45

Hmmmmm....So I guess flaying alive and disemboweling would fall into the "extra-judicial" category, huh? Damn!
(reply to this comment)
from Mydestinyismine
Thursday, March 04, 2004 - 00:28


This article was awesome and well written. I never realised how we were brought up to be extremist but it's so true. I'm more for justice but I know that if I had been more sexually or physically abused I'd be an extremist for revenge. When I first left I had planned with a friend, to carry out our revenge against certain individuals, that was definitely"extra-judicial". And the crimes against me were minor in comparison to some of the stories I've read and heard here. I also wanted to add a comment to this article so that those who have joined after it's posting will have a better chance of reading it from the 'New Content' section.
(reply to this comment)

from faeriraven
Tuesday, July 02, 2002 - 10:47

I think we also have to realize that if we're going to get them for anything; it's going to have to be soon. We can't sue the Family as a whole, we've already established that in doing that we would destroy a lot of families that are actually doing well, and are innocent. But, what we can do is find out where Zerby & Peter are, once we do this, we can sue them directly, not the followers, but the leaders, the head of the cult. Yes, some of the members were abusive etc, but it all stemmed from who? From Berg, Zerby, Peter, they are the ones we need to attack. If we bring them down, we bring the rest of the family to an end. I would think that a couple hundred of us filing a law suit against 2-3 individuals will get us further then going against 'the family' in court. Besides, if we don't do it soon, they'll die off, Zerby is already dying, Peter has a bad heart, there's not very many strong leaders left anymore that could hold up the fort, who's going to listen to anyone else but Zerby and Peter, who else is there, who are they going to elect as their new leaders? There's no one...the family is dying, slowly but surely, I give them @ 5-10 years. Will we succeed in stopping them before it’s too late?
(reply to this comment)
From samuel
Thursday, September 05, 2002, 09:13

you´re right! there´s a lot more energy out here! We feed ourselves better, sleep more if we really need to and in our free time we can do recreational activities of our choice.Well, to a certain extent anyway. Besides that we´re just a whole lot cooler.(reply to this comment
From Albatross
Tuesday, July 02, 2002, 11:06

I agree faeriraven,
If you read my open letter to Zerby and Kelly in this section you will see that I also hold them very much responsible. It will be interesting to see what the future holds in terms of being able to bring some of that responsibility to their doorstep in the legal arena.

Daniel(reply to this comment
From samuel
Thursday, September 05, 2002, 09:09

What concrete information do we have on the individuals mentioned? Is there a compilation of information about them anywhere? I agree that a lawsuit should be filed against them in each country in which we reside. Which concrete offences could be used for such a lawsuit? Are they current enough that we can still sue for them?

I believe it is very important to be careful of simply sending over the police to known Family homes, as this has obviously proven to be an additional source of trauma for the children who needed help. It would be interesting to find out what sort of authorities i.e. sociologists could acomplish along the lines of uncovering insufficient care and schooling of Family children. (reply to this comment

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