Saturday, October 10

Personal Musings On Perpetrator Accountability

I wonder if the former friend who hit me has changed his ways and has never again hit or thrown something at someone he's in an argument over an emotional subject with.

I got cautious in that friendship the first time--he was distraught he'd done it and said he had only hit someone one other time in his life (kindergarten)--so I was cautious but didn't break off the friendship 100%.

The second time, I did. No third chance. I'm really glad people all my life encouraged me to act that way over being hit if it ever happened. It did, and this was a good response for me.

But perpetrator accountability's been a theme in my thoughts lately:

One of my friends has shared her anger with me that the man who raped refused to acknowledge that he'd done ANYTHING wrong on the consent front AT ALL because he, well, didn't want to think of himself as having raped someone.

And the G20 protest had a passage in their sexual consent guidelines saying:

*We understand and respect that other communities have engaged in their own processes around these incidents. If you have gone through an accountability process and the survivor, joined by the community, feels you have sufficiently dealt with your shit, this statement does not include you.

And there's been a lot of talk on BFP's site and in Make/Shift Magazine and other places online and in print that I've been reading lately where the idea of perpetrators of violence holding themselves accountable comes up (even if just as the potential opposite of much more common unaccountability).

And I wonder if I don't need to give ****** the cold shoulder anymore, next time he pops into my life (he does every couple of years). I wonder if the consequence of a friend he hurt (me) giving him the cold shoulder for the remaining 3.5 years of college and at events where we ran into each other afterwards has had its intended effect of getting him to change his behavior.

I wonder if my warning that I wouldn't go around telling people what he did willy-nilly, but that I would do so if he hit a woman again (and that I'd do my damndest to make sure every woman at the school heard what he did to me (which we had seen could work--such an effort was underway over one of our classmates' behavior)), had its intended effect of getting him to change his behavior.

He's faced another terrible loss in his life since we finished college--a relative he was extremely attached to passed away, I heard. That kind of thing makes me wonder if he doesn't need any more external/social stimuli anymore to never do again what he did to me. It makes me wonder if he's "dealt with his shit." I had exposure to him for years and never got bad vibes from him or people close to him.

I wonder because although it's not like we're going to be buds again, relief from the cold shoulder and an "I'm really sorry--I witnessed your love for this person when we were friends, and I am so sorry to hear about this person's passing, *****" is something I would feel safe giving--if he's "dealt with his shit."

Otherwise, I think I oughtta let him find his emotional relief wherever it currently is and continue to embody a message of, "You do this, you lose friends."

I don't know how or when I'd find that out--until I do, I guess I'll leave up that wall. And...pray for God to send my portion of comfort to him anonymously but now, I guess.

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