Sherrall was verbally attacked by a young person who refused to let her wheelchair pass. Worried that the police would not take her seriously, the incident was never reported. A few years later she contacted Why me? and took part in a restorative conversation.
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Sherrall was heading home by her usual route one afternoon when a young man on a bike swung out in front of her and blocked her way. When Sherrall asked to get past he refused and moved towards her aggressively, yelling violent verbal abuse.
Eventually he left and Sherrall made her way home, anxious he was following her. She had never seen him before and hasn’t seen him since. Afraid that what happened wouldn’t be believed, Sherrall did not report the hate incident to the police.
A few years later Sherrall contacted Why me?. She was writing a play based on her experience and wanted to incorporate Restorative Justice in the plot. Sherrall was still affected by what had happened to her, experiencing anxiety when she came across groups of young people on bikes. When offered to take part in a restorative conversation with two Why me? facilitators, she felt that this might help her to gain some closure from what happened.
A restorative conversation offers an opportunity for a person affected by crime to talk about what happened with a trained facilitator. The restorative questions centre around how the individual feels about what happened and what they need looking forward. During this conversation a safe and respectful space is created. This allows the individual to speak openly about the incident without judgement.
Although Sherrall knew she wanted to take part in a restorative conversation, she was anxious before the meeting. She had never fully opened up about what had happened. But she went ahead to talk with the facilitators via Zoom.
They talked through the incident and the impact that it had made on her. One question that the facilitators asked is what the hardest thing had been. Sherrall said “it’s why he chose me, why did he pick on me? I don’t see myself as the vulnerable one. I know it happens too often and it is spontaneous.”
Afterwards, however, Sherrall felt a sense of relief.
“It was good to have the opportunity to talk about the incident and not be judged in any way.”
Sherrall explained how the restorative conversation enabled her to “move forward with things”.
“I can finally move forward and write the story I want to tell.”