Separate from the more serious context of sexual violence, I would add that we should not dismiss or preclude individuals from ascending to the higher echelons of public service based solely on the indiscretions of their youth. What we write in our high school yearbooks often bears little resemblance to who we become as adults.
Wow Steve McGrath you were reading my mind! I was sitting here thinking what if we weren’t given second chances. Where would I be? I certainly haven’t been a perfect kid, or a perfect adult for that matter.
My way to rationalize it (not saying it’s a right or wrong way, just my insignificant method) is what is to look at the crime, and then assess who was harmed?
Breaking a law…getting caught with drugs used recreationally, driving under the influence, eating grapes in the grocery store, speeding/driving over the speed limit, are all crimes. They are laws that people break all the time. They could harm other people, or a businesses bottom line, but otherwise the breaking of these rules causes little harm (if any) to other people. In my opinion, restorative justice and second chances are appropriate here.
Now, let’s look at other issues where laws are on the books…like child abuse and neglect, sexual assault/rape, stalking, murder, embezzlement, selling drugs, or elder abuse. These are crimes that cause trauma. The harm can be seen and sometimes the damage is irreparable.
Here is where I struggle. Should someone causing this type of harm be able to be made whole and have a second chance while victims are left trying to piece together their lives for the rest of their lives? Especially when there is no acknowledgement of sins, repentance, or taking of responsibility for the harm done?
I believe in reentry, and I believe in second chances for some, but not all. Some people are not remorseful, or they appear not to be anyway. Then there are also some people who, like Kavanaugh, lie about their pasts. They won’t own up to their behavior or how the behavior negatively impacted others.
Experimenting with drugs and alcohol or shoplifting as a kid isn’t the same as thinking you’re entitled to have sex with women, forcing yourself on her, or getting angry and fighting other people like a bully.
I don’t know the right answer, I just know that to place limitations on someone’s life because of their past (if they are remorseful) is wrong. If your attitude is otherwise, then I have a hard time with giving you a second chance, even if you need it desperately. It should be earned, it’s not an entitlement.
That’s my complicated two cents. Thanks for your feedback. We are on the same wave length. :-)