Neil Kelly’s Simple, Revolutionary Framework

This came up in the context of clergy abusing people – the specific context was financial rather than sexual, but it serves for that as well. It also works for corporate abuse of individuals.

Such discussions tend to run immediately to attempts to either blame or exonerate the institution, but that is deeply unhelpful to the victims, and to potential future victims. Rather than get tangled in ‘whose fault?’, it’s far more productive to focus on ‘how do we fix this?’ This while recognising that the results of some forms of abuse can never be truly ‘fixed’ – which is why it’s important to focus on making sure the abuse is not perpetuated.

So here it is:

1. yes, [it] happened
2. No, it was not right (it was wrong) – a clear ethical stance
3. [we] are genuinely sorry – if authentic remorse is possible within an institutional frame
4. [we] will clean up whatever mess this has caused
5. [we] will endeavour (with clear and clean adjustments) to ensure this does not happen again

Very simple, very powerful.

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