North Texas Daily

Keeping abusers accountable

Keeping abusers accountable

Keeping abusers accountable
September 09
21:30 2020

Trigger Warning: Sexual, Domestic and Emotional Abuse, Victim Blaming

Often people will claim to support survivors of abuse but when their friend is the abuser, they will victim blame or not believe the person coming forward about their abuse, something not seen in situations when they do not know the people involved personally. A person coming forward with their story takes a lot of time and effort or even more, depending on the person and story, mostly because of the fear of not being believed or taken seriously.

There is a long-standing history of corrupt actions within the criminal justice system proving time and time again, they will not support survivors.  When this happens in personal relationships, that can make or break whether or not that person will get justice. While not every person who is affected by abuse chooses to go through the criminal justice system, oftentimes simply removing the abuser from their life for good can be a valid solution to them. Every person has a different way of coping and that should be respected, but the common factor in aiding this process is a support group of friends, family and even therapy. Support comes in many different ways, such as listening to them, believing them, explaining to other people and being there for them in any way they need. 

If you want to support survivors of domestic, sexual or emotional abuse, an important aspect is to keep these abusers accountable for their actions, even if they are your friend. Being faced with the reality that your friends, close or distant, could do such things to a person can be hard to believe and often wrap your head around. The idea that your friend, classmate, bandmate or even partner could be another person’s abuser is hard to cope with, but putting your feelings on the situation ahead of the survivor’s emotions about the abuse is unfair.

Keeping abusers accountable can be shown in many different ways, but the end goal is to support and believe the survivor, even through just your actions.

An obvious action to take is to remove yourself from the abuser’s life completely, as the survivor would. Blocking them on social media, no longer hanging out with them, stop attending their events, do not support them financially anyway through art, services, etc. Following a sexual abuser on Twitter or Instagram does matter, and doing so is extremely disrespectful and invalidating to the survivor. There is no need to keep up with their life anymore. If a member of a band is outed as an abuser, no longer listening to their music, attending their events, buying their merch or supporting their group is the only option to keep the abuser accountable for their actions. 

It should not be in the hands of individuals to keep abusers accountable, however, as I stated earlier the criminal justice system does not handle these situations correctly or at all as we have seen sometimes.

Therefore, your actions do make a change and help the survivor of this abuse heal by keeping the abuser accountable for their actions in the ways you can. If you are not sure how to respond or what the survivor themself would want, ask them, and often they are willing to explain their feelings of the situation and what steps they and their friends have taken in steps of personal accountability.

This all being said, no person or situation is perfect or easily understood but the only thing that can be asked of people is to take the actions that support your beliefs. If you claim to support survivors and hold abusers accountable, you need to take actual steps to do so when you are faced with that personally. Be there for your friends and people in your community who are survivors, and to stop abusers. 

Featured Illustration by Austin Banzon

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Keaton Hare

Keaton Hare

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