The following is a story from a person doing harm who has also survived harm. Because there are so few stories from the person doing harm, we have included many details over many years of struggle in the hope that it will help understand accountability.
Public stories of people who have done harm and who are taking accountability seriously are rare. This is only one story. The person’s feelings and process may not be the same as other people doing harm. He was able to find resources and political groups doing accountability with values that are non-punishing and non-criminalising. They may not be there for everyone.
The person remains anonymous not only to protect confidentiality, but also so that he isn’t rewarded for his story. It is common to celebrate men who have made some change, to reward them in a way we would never reward the person they hurt. The story teller has asked not to be rewarded for any change he has made. Humility is important to accountability.
From the story, we can see that the process of accountability has been long and difficult. But accountability to himself and others has made this person’s healing and transformation possible.
The storyteller asks that if you recognise him or other people through details in the story, please have compassion about who you share these identities with. If you recognise him, he asks that you talk with him about this story, even if only to acknowledge that you know this part of his history. He doesn’t want this story to be an unspoken secret among those that know him.
Surviving and doing sexual harm: A story of accountability and healing