North Pointe Now

The lost art of accountability

Photo credit: Odyssey

Photo credit: Odyssey

By Zoe Graves, Page Editor

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If I’m going to be blunt, I’m not the most merciful person. If someone says they’re going to do something, they’re on the hook to get it done. And if it they don’t follow through, any ounce of trust I had in that person is gone.

In a way, I start looking at them like they’re a criminal who’s been sentenced to community service. I need to see them do something well before I trust them with anything else. I need to see that they can be held accountable for their commitments.

When someone commits a crime–real or hypothetical–they need to be liable and punished for their actions no matter their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or occupation. Not defended because there were “special circumstances” or swept under the rug because of their position.

A few nights ago, I stumbled across one of President Trump’s tweets from 2013. He had said, “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

I remember my jaw physically dropping after I read it, immediately checking the date to see how recent it was. Granted the tweet was four years old, but does that really excuse anything? Anyone can educate themselves on an issue and change their perspective, but that doesn’t erase the fact that it was said.

We are as much accountable for our words as we are our actions–it doesn’t matter when they were said or done. When I read that tweet, my first reaction was “I expect people to keep it in their pants and know that no means no.”

Despite the majority of the replies disagreeing with Trump’s tweet, there were still those who agreed with him. And that astounded me.

I didn’t and still don’t understand how someone could ever have the mindset that sexual assault is inevitable if you put men and women in a room together for an extended period of time. I couldn’t fathom the thought that they would rather say that something like that is just going to happen instead of blaming people for not having self-control or basic morals. Up until I saw the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of responses to #MeToo on Twitter this past week, I hadn’t even realized how naive it was to think that people understood that no means no.

I hadn’t even realized how naive it was to think that people understood that no means no.”

But that’s the thing. To some people, no doesn’t exactly mean no.

“But they didn’t originally say no.”

“I mean she was drunk, she never exactly said no.”

“Well  look what she was wearing. She was asking for it.”

The excuses are what get me. Yes Bryce, no means no, no matter when it was said. Brandon, taking advantage of someone when they were drunk is rape. And I’m sorry, Chad but just because a girl was wearing revealing clothing doesn’t mean you get to sleep with her.

Accountability and responsibility for one’s actions are ideals that seem like they’ve been lost in today’s society. There’s always an excuse as to why something wasn’t done, or in this case, why something was done.

I’m always going to hold people accountable for a commitment they make. I’m going to hold them to a certain standard because I want to see the best in people, even though most of the time that’s not what I find.

If I don’t finish something or follow through on a commitment I make, I’m going to own up and take responsibility for that.

I’m going to continue to hope that people will take responsibility for their actions. I’m going to continue hoping that people know that no means no. And I’m going to continue to believe that people have the strength to keep it in their pants.

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