It’s hard to say I’m sorry. It’s hard for everyone, but especially for men like me because we have been taught to think saying “I’m sorry” means we’re weak.
It’s even harder to say “I’m sorry” without adding “but.” Minus the qualification, that short sentence means I have to own my shame, to shoulder the apology all by myself. Why should you bear even the partial weight of my offense?
You were the wronged person, not me. It doesn’t matter what you were wearing or how late it was or how drunk we both were or how you initially seemed interested. The fact is I did something that you didn’t want to do. And now you are suffering and it’s awful and I’m ashamed.
So you’re not going to hear me say “I was brought up in a different era where this was acceptable,” because most men from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s didn’t insult, scream, grope and hit women.
You’re not going to hear me say, “I’m just a romantic. Men are scared to even flirt with a woman anymore!” Forcing myself on someone is the polar opposite of romance and flirting, and if I don’t know the difference, then I should be in solitary confinement.
You’re not going to hear me say, “I’ve always been a champion of women and women’s causes.” Throwing money at charities to assuage my guilty conscience isn’t the same as being nice to women on a daily basis.
You’re not going to hear me say, “What I did was bad, but I did ask if I could do it beforehand.’ I knew damn well women low on the totem pole would be too scared to say no.
You’re not going to hear me say, “Yeah, what I did was wrong, but I’m not as bad as Harvey Weinstein.” I should have higher standards for myself than being a rapist.
And you’re certainly not going to hear me say “The pendulum in the #MeToo movement has now swung too far in the opposite direction. How long am I supposed to wait before I can do what I love again? Six months, nine months, one year? It’s so unfair!” Well, I guess I should have thought about this before I abused you. I am not the victim. Before I felt my pain, I inflicted pain on you. My current exile is the repercussion. And It’s not for me to decide when the right time is to reappear. Before I think of my comeback, the first thing I have to do is to be sincerely sorry and express it to you in public and in private. If I’m saying any or all the excuses I listed above, I can assure you I’m not.
Our President stated, “I never apologize because I’ve never been wrong.” I don’t want to be like Trump. He’s a parody of a man. Despite his power and influence, he is a damaged, ignorant, angry and sad little boy. A bully, a coward, a tyrant, an abuser, a liar, and a fraud. I want to be better than that.
So please allow me to say I’m sorry. And then you can decide where I can take it from there.