In the limelight, people are bound to make mistakes. Over the past few weeks, these “mistakes” have been brought to light by angry, hurt and tired voices.
The response from those accused of perpetrating such pain is often: “I take responsibility for my actions.” And somehow, that’s meant to be enough.
This happens time and time again, in the wake of sexual assault allegations, political misconduct and even amongst interpersonal relationships. “Taking responsibility” is meant to release some of the heavy weight of guilt and shame off of those affected, but to what avail?
What exactly is the point of “accepting responsibility” if there are hardly any repercussions to the perpetrator of any such misconduct? In that same vein, does “accepting responsibility” mean facing scrutiny for years down the line? To some, maybe that is the proper way to accept responsibility. To others, that is hardly even scratching the surface.
Take the recent case of Senator Al Franken, whose sexual misconduct with Leeann Tweeden has led to a review by the Senate Ethics Committee on whether or not Franken could face censorship or expulsion from the Senate. “Accepting responsibility” in this case meant Franken’s willingness to end his political career, even after Tweeden accepted his apology. Is ending his career enough?