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The author examines three aspects of dispute resolution involving cases of physical and sexual abuse in institutions and other environments. She focuses on judicial and alternative processes that deal with identity formation, empowerment and monetary compensation. She argues that sexual abuse and physical abuse create specific harms to the identity and power of abused persons. These harms should be addressed through a process that can allow for identity-formation and re-configuration of the power relationship between the parties. The author concludes that judicial processes recognize identity formation that occurs outside the legal arena, and are capable of recognizing the power of the testimony of abused persons. However, judicial processes depend upon the approval of ' status quo' experts before acknowledgment of identity and empowerment occurs. The author explores the capacity of non judicial processes to allow abused persons to develop identity and to bring their subjective understanding of abusive experiences to the broader world.