This post is meant for anybody who cares about other people. Some people seem like they’re born with the skills to act on their compassion in a way that is practical and effective and translates into actually making the world a better place. I’m not in that category, it turns out.
I’ve come into a realization that I’ve been a friend to someone who has hurt other people and not lived up to the responsibility of making it right. I supported this person even when they were called-out on the internet for bad behavior; I defaulted to accepting his word that those accusations were ‘resolved.’ When I could have been inquisitive and reached out to validate those claims, I didn’t. The community was small and caring enough to make that effort, but I didn’t, even when people were close enough to reach out to. I consider this to be a moral failure, because I can’t claim it’s my nature to have compassion if I’m not actually practicing it in my life, in the real world, where it can make a difference.
This came into focus thanks to Facebook friends who took the conversation up with me directly. I give them credit for embracing their sense of justice and following it to every endpoint, including me. I’m making this public with hope that anyone else might take a minute to consider if they’re being the best human they can be when they’re in a situation like this. The harm that was done happened within intimate relationships, and the loss of trust and other violations could affect victims for their entire lives. My heart breaks for them, and I owe them an apology for not being there — as their community should be — to hear them and be a source of strength, affirmation, or any kind of healing. I owe an apology to everyone who did step up to this, too; I should have stood with you.