Accountability Model of Courage

Facing is a profound act of courageous encouragement that takes place between you who are on the front line and your friend or family member. Facing begins as a calm, thoughtful, and even-handed conversation about what victimizers need to recognize: the abusive behaviors they are expressing. This amounts to challenging them, but with a steady hand and a strong voice. You are not taking any overt action, as in an intervention. You are helping victimizers become aware, to think, and to face the reality that what they are doing is harmful.

Owning involves the victimizers taking responsibility for their distorted belief systems, harmful actions, and for their necessary alteration and repair. Such ownership is not for the faint of heart, for either the person helping the victimizers to face what they are doing or for the victimizers to admit what they are doing. Owning and its act of repentance requires the victimizers to stop the harmful behaviors they have been doing, or it is a false owning.

Accountability may be a difficult consequence for the victimizers to accept, but ultimately it is the only one that will lead to necessary change and healing. Genuine remorse and repentance are humbling and significant signals that the victimizers truly understand what they have done and are willing to make reparation. These reparations require doing what the victim/survivors needs in order for them to feel safe, protected, and satisfied with the repairs. If property has been damaged, fix it. If the victim’s reputation was damaged it might take double or triple effort to salvage it, and ensure that it is never tainted again. Hiding or taking a course of action that stalls or avoids public humility for the victimizer because s/he is in a position of employment, community or church leadership, or volunteerism is unacceptable, and does not offer any excuse to continue the abuse in any form or to avoid its consequences.

Resourcing means that once you have helped a victimizer face and own his abusive behaviors, there is help available to them. Programs that work with victimizers, individual therapy, the support of an enlightened church community, family and friends, are all rich resources that can both support the victimizer in getting help and serve to uphold the work they need to do to change. An Accountability Partner can be an invaluable resource, someone with knowledge of the nature and activity of abuse, how this particular victimizer has enacted that activity, and holding them accountable to him or herself for the changes that need to occur.

Requirements are at the heart of what makes a relationship, and requiring these amendments in a relationship is inseparable from repair and success. As the victimizer takes responsibility for the deep and serious psychological, emotional, and cognitive reworking they must do if they want their relationship to thrive, they will also need to come to grips with the requirements of what a relationship needs. While hundreds of books have been written on the subject, here are just a few of the essentials requirements that a victimizer needs to accept and then learn how to provide.

  • Necessary repairs
  • Building
  • Equality
  • Difference

  • Discovery
  • Mutuality
  • Reciprocity
  • Respect for individuality

  • Affection
  • Caring attention
  • Support
  • Honesty

  • Pleasure
  • Variety
  • Accountable freedom
  • Protective boundaries

Determining is setting a new bar, which is revisited for constant updating and improvement. This includes determining the Goals for new standards of behavior, productive ways of communicating, sharing knowledge of and responsibilities for child rearing, financial considerations, running a household, supporting work efforts. The goals are bi-directional, including both partners in collaborative design and implementation.

Confronting is the brave act of facing, once again, but this time in terms of recognizing, analyzing, and either celebrating and building upon successful outcomes or owning the immediate failure to achieve determined goals while becoming willing to embrace the challenge of trying again. Here, a structured program, individual therapy, an Accountability Partner, and/or a support group becomes an invaluable resource of support and care in encouraging or confronting the victimizer to make yet another attempt at change and repair.

Helping confront a victimizer does not place priority on the perpetrator. That would mean joining in the abuse and causing secondary abuse to the victim. You are NOT a rescuer, an enabler, a distraction, or a force. You are the VOICE of sanity, of honesty, of care, and respect, speaking to the trauma that is occurring by means of abuse and the necessary realities that must be faced, owned, resourced, required, determined, and confronted in order to change and build to a new way of relating. We hope these pages have helped you speak your voice in the service of healing.