Template for Admitting to Sexual Misconduct

There have been a lot of famous/powerful people in the news lately for acting inappropriately (while not inaccurate, that is a mild way to put it – their offenses range from terrible to horrendous). Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., etc… And more will be named too. While it is terrible that these events took place, and sad that it took so long to come to light, it is good that we learn about these things now, that people feel safe talking about how they were hurt, and that the public is (for the most part) reacting appropriately.

But one thing that troubles me (and was also pointed out in this Young Turks broadcast) is that people only admit their wrong doing after they’re caught. So, guys (and maybe a woman or two that’ll be accused, but it is mostly (if not all) going to be men), let me encourage you to step up, take responsibility for your actions, and come clean NOW, before you’re even accused. Here are some guidelines and a sample for you go by as you do this:
1. Admit that what you did was wrong, and explain why.
2. Say “I’m sorry” and tell us how you came to that understanding.
3. Do this publicly: TV, radio, written statement posted on your social feeds and sent to major media outlets.
4. Don’t name names. If they haven’t come forward yet then maybe they aren’t ready to, you can admit your wrong doing and apologize to them without exposing them.
5. Create a safe space for those you’ve offended to confront you. Let the public know that you expect their disappointment, anger, and resentment, but more importantly the people that you’ve hurt need to be encouraged to come to you privately or discuss publicly (with or without you present) what happened and how it affected them, if they wish to.
6. Take a break. If you already have a project scheduled to come out or are working on a show then you’ll need to discuss with them how they would like to handle it – do not push your own agenda here. Otherwise, stay out of the limelight, it’s not your turn, and you’re not going to capitalize on how you’ve hurt others.
7. Take what comes. You deserve it. You’ve made the right choice to by coming forward and apologizing now, but there will be pain expressed and fallout in the present and future from your past actions.

EXAMPLE:
Hello, I am CELEBRITY/POLITICIAN/PERSON THAT FEELS BAD FOR BEING SUCH A DISGUSTING LOSER. I have hurt some people. I made my own sexual gratification more important than the feelings of SEVERAL/MULTIPLE/A LOT of MEN/WOMEN/PEOPLE. I am sorry. No one has, to my knowledge, come out about this issue with me yet. But I expect that they will, in fact I ask that if it helps them or others grieve and heal that they do come forward. I am available to discuss publicly or privately how I have hurt you if you would like my apology face-to-face. I made justifications in my own mind to do what I did and be okay with it. But it wasn’t okay, and I am not okay with it. I see now that I abused my position of AUTHORITY/INFLUENCE/POWER to take advantage of others in the most unhealthy ways. I hope that you can forgive me. I encourage men and women to continue to speak out about the abuse they’ve suffered, whether from someone like me, from a family member, or someone else in their life. Sometimes it takes seeing how wrong someone else’s actions are to realize how wrong your own have been. Seeing the Me Too movement, hearing the confessions, and reflecting on my own past has made me realize that I am part of the problem – and I will not continue to be a part of a system that hurts others and covers it up with excuses, fear-mongering, or bribery. Thank you for your time and consideration today, and again, I am sorry for my actions; they were wrong, hurtful, despicable, and I apologize.

The featured image is a comic strip from Joy of Tech.

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