"Once the sale is made, shut up.” That's a fundamental rule of sales that is taught to virtually every aspiring sales person.
A similar rule should be taught to public officials in sexual misconduct cases: “Once the apology is made, shut up.”
Today’s New York Times contains two stories about politicians who can’t seem to leave well enough alone and who apparently want to mess with apologies for sexual misdeeds made months or years ago.
One is Japan’s new prime minister who, the newspaper says, “has signaled that he might seek to revise Japan’s apologies for its . . . using Koreans and other women as sex slaves.”
The other is Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Corbett who has filed suit to overturn all the sanctions imposed on Penn State by the NCAA.
Perhaps the most painful sentence that victims hear, tragically often, is “Can’t you just put this all behind you?” We sometimes answer “I wish I could. I wish it were that easy.” But it’s very hard. And it becomes even harder when authority figures meddle, refuse to let apologies stand and rub even more salt into already deep and often still fresh wounds.
Is it really that hard for officials to understand that if you “revise” an apology, it seem clear that you were not sincere in the first place? And it appears that you are making excuses and trying to minimize wrongdoing? (Especially in the Penn State case, it feels like the Gov. Corbett is almost defending the proven crimes by Sandusky and the likely soon-to-be-proven crimes of other top university staff.)
For the sake of victims everywhere, let’s hope that public pressure will force these two officials to reconsider.