Informing the perpetrator‘s close surroundings

In the support group we decided to inform the people closest to the perpetrator, including his partner, at an early stage in the process and assured them that no more people would be informed until a certain date. This was because we wanted to give them time without public pressure to process the information and find emotional/material support if needed. However, this selection of people, the openness about the next steps of the accountability process and the geographical distance between us supported the creation of a group trying to prevent more people from being told.

While this need not be the case, in retrospect, it could have been anticipated that those people closest to the perpetrator would have the biggest fears about the negative impact a publication of the letter would have on their personal lives and political credibility. Instead of empathising with the victim, they started to portray themselves as victims of this process and shifted the blame from the perpetrator to the victim for disrupting their lives. The accusations and doubts formulated by these people to delegitimise the process were extremely harmful and if we were to do this again, we would pay more attention to inform people first who we think will be supportive.