When a survivor separates themselves from the offenders shame by public truth telling, he/she must also consider the option of divorcing themselves from the outcome.
Truth is oft vehemently opposed, justice pyrrhic in nature, and accountability elusive.
There may be liberty in letting go.
Survivors may consider divorcing themselves from the outcome of public disclosure. If sacred or secular communities continue to applaud alleged offenders and refuse hold their own to account, then what is to be done?
In my opinion, it is categorically NOT the responsibility the victims to hold offenders to account. (I am aware that there many just initiatives are survivor driven — this is not what I am referring to.) I am suggesting that the responsibility of survivors is to tell the truth of the matter as best as they can, in whatever way they can, and when they can.
Civil, criminal, or ecclesiastical investigatory processes MUST be initiated.
If you are an employee, a member of a club, group, charity, government, community, or collective it is YOUR responsibility to demand transparency, demand accountability; demand action. Or else not. The outcome of alleged/actual offenders is categorically not the victim’s problem — it’s yours. What you do will reveal your character, not the victim’s character.
Justice, whatever it looks like, is SOOO elusive as to be virtually non existent. Victims are retraumatized repeatedly by the catastrophic breech of not only the individual offender, but the institution, and then the broader betrayal blindness of the community.
At some point (and each survivor needs to decide when) the survivor needs to come to a place where their peace and well being is not hinged to the offenders outcome. The outcome is RARELY proportional to the victim’s betrayal trauma.
For example, an offender in my life repeatedly raped my siblings and poly-victimized us all from a very young age. When he was finally caught he was sentenced to three years and served nine months. He was then released back into public and private life to repeatedly victimize vulnerable others. We must not speak of civil, criminal, or ecclesiastical justice as if there is some possible equivalent to the lives left obliterated — there is not.
Recent research reveals that the chances of institutional courage are so slim as to be non-existent. Apathy or applause are the most common responses. There are precious little examples of either sacred/secular institutions conducting themselves with institutional courage.
Yet there is reason for hope.
The post humous investigation into the sexual abuses adult women by Jean Vanier, the founder of the L’Arche community, is one such courageous example.
May their tribe increase.
The survivor, once liberated, may consider joining the throng of the courageous in the arena, battling for the brutalized. Very little energy should be spent on engaging the obtuse. All efforts must be spent on the recovery of the ruined.
If you need me, this is where I’ll be.