I appreciate you taking the time to read this nonetheless, Ruth and responding with your thoughts. I’m always open to feedback, even if critical. I do think you might have inferred some things that aren’t intended to be in the piece and am also curious to ask a few questions of you if you’re open to responding.

When I wrote this piece it was not to be “absolved of my sin” as you put it. It was to own my guilt and apologize as a whole. Whether people accept that or not depends solely on them. In the amends process we learn “as far as it depends on YOU, live at peace with others.” I cannot control whether or not someone still is angry with me, nor do I think they shouldn’t be angry or “get over it” by any means.

I also wasn’t implying that as a male I knew better either. From a scientific standpoint unforgiveness not only leads to physical health problems but depression, anxiety, increased risk of heart attack, cholesterol, and sleep disorders. This has been well-documented by both John Hopkins and the American Psychological Association. It has nothing to do with gender, but healing. A common (but mistaken) belief is that forgiveness means letting the person who hurt you off the hook, and maybe that’s what you thought I was implying. But forgiveness is not the same as justice, nor does it require reconciliation. Forgiveness is what happens inside the person who was wronged and whether or not they let the bitterness and anger consume them.

Last, I am curious to know what you think the solution to all of this is? Should I have stayed silent and said nothing and pretended to be a good guy while wagging my finger at others and saying I’m not like them while outraged pretending that I’m an advocate? What should men do in the midst of all of this, as awareness doesn’t translate into action. I think part of why Medium did push this onto the homepage has to do with their mission of creating different thought streams as opposed to group think. I, too, have read many articles on my homepage that I believe are asinine and determinantal. However, if I read only things I want to hear, I’m not growing, not challenging the status quo, and only reinforces the echo chamber.

I hope this response clarifies a bit more my intentions in writing the piece. Writing is difficult as people’s attention spans are limited these days, and so an entire worldview in under 2,000 words doesn’t translate well across the web often. Thanks again for reading and responding.

Storyteller | Combat wounded veteran | Metalhead | Designer | Bleeding on a page just makes it more authentic: https://benjaminsledge.com

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