Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 02:55 pm
A reply to this post about the importance of paths to redemption.

I agree with this but think there’s a few important things it misses that don’t go without saying. Specifically: no matter how much someone atones, the people they hurt have a right to want to avoid them anyway, and people in general are individually within their rights to still not like or trust someone post atonement.

I mean afaict people who’ve actually atoned generally accept this and are fine respecting those boundaries as long as they’re not so restrictive that it makes their life impossible eg they can’t find anyone willing to hire them. (And I don’t consider blanket mistrust of, say, anyone who’s been to prison to be reasonable or socially responsible)

So what causes problems is abusers who have learned the language of atonement but just use it as a weapon to silence anyone who criticises them or wants to avoid them. See: Hugo Schwyzer. These people are generally sneaky enough to avoid prison or any real negative consequences for their actions, but there’s no sure fire way to recognise them.

That doesn’t mean we don’t value redemption: if nothing else, abusers are great at taking advantage of this too, spinning one bad thing their critics did once into a excuse to dismiss them. It just means we can’t value redemption above all else.

This isn’t really a criticism of the original post, which was written as part of a broader argument. Afaict the OP and I agree very strongly on the basic principle that you can’t ever ignore all the real people involved in a situation in favour of simplistic political dogma. I’m just engaging with the post as a reblog shorn of that context, because tumblr. Also given the subject of the post, I do think it’s important not to use “abuser” as a synonym for “being of pure irredeemable evil”. I am using it to mean “someone who is currently abusing people”.

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