Saturday, 8 November 2014
What is That "Sorry" Worth?
Since my own devastating 'church' experience, I've been reading and learning all I can about abuse. What it looks like. How it manifests. Why both abuser and abused seem to act out their parts as if reading from some ineluctable script, regardless of the finer details of the situation.
There are the classic moves like blaming, gas lighting and shunning.
There is the haunting pain of shame, self-doubt and isolation.
And there is, to mis-quote Maxwell Smart, the old 'say sorry and then insist your victim gets over it' trick.
I've been watching this trick being played throughout the fall of the Driscoll Empire: "He's said he's sorry, what more do you want from him!?"
And because people like Warren Throckmorton keep pressing for answers, they are accused of being judgemental, bloodthirsty and self-righteous. And that's just the polite words...
What some people refuse to understand is that people who have survived abuse (or at least understand its foulness) will move heaven and earth to make sure no-one else becomes a victim. If you've experienced that depth of pain and betrayal, you won't sit idly by and watch an abuser just walk away. Free to keep on devastating the lives of the innocent or unwary.
It's not a case of "wanting to bring them down" or "being out for revenge". It's knowing that an unrepentant abuser will strike again. Think about it for a moment - if they don't believe they've done anything wrong, why would they change their behaviour!?
That is why it is wise to seek proof of 'repentance' before trusting again. To ask that actions line up with the words.
Reparation. Redress. Restitution. Recompense. Restoration.
These are the things that can lead to reconciliation. Things that prove the sincerity of your words. Things that show how serious you are about what you have said.
But be warned! If you stand your ground in wanting to see the evidence, there's a real danger that you'll be further vilified. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about!
Of course, the upside to that is you'll know exactly how much that "sorry" was worth!