Gendered Expectations: Why Women Are Expected To Forgive Compared To Men?

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In 2016, the author, having revealed her survivor status of a traumatic high school experience, was confronted with a question that society often places: Why women are expected to forgive compared to men?

People inquired whether she had found it in her heart to forgive her assailants, as forgiveness is often seen as the ultimate step in the healing process, the point where one transcends bitterness and anger.

Why Women Are Expected To Forgive Compared To Men?

Initially, she struggled with this notion, feeling pressured to offer a positive response. However, internally, the idea of forgiveness stoked her anger and resentment. It felt like absolving the perpetrators at a time when they were, albeit anonymously, being held accountable.

Over time, her perspective evolved. She rejected the idea of forgiveness, realizing that it’s a personal choice, not an obligation. Forgiveness, she understood, requires the transgressor to seek it, making it elusive when the wrongdoer refuses to take responsibility.

She critiques the corruption of forgiveness, suggesting that it has been misused and manipulated. Instead, she advocates for a concept she calls “integration,” a nuanced approach that goes beyond mere acceptance or gratitude.

It involves living with pain by finding meaning in unresolved trauma. Writing, for her, became a way to make sense of her experiences and help others do the same.

The author also addresses the accountability imbalance between men and women. She reflects on how society often demands more introspection and humility from women, leading to disproportionate criticism and blame. She challenges men to be more perceptive and courageous in acknowledging their wrongdoings.

She shares a personal anecdote to highlight the complexities of visibility and accountability. When harassed on the street, she inadvertently shifted the burden of disrespect onto her boyfriend. This incident made her realize that she, too, deserved the extraordinary act of courage that forgiveness represents.

In essence, the author rejects the societal pressure for women to forgive and calls for a more balanced approach to accountability, where everyone, regardless of gender, takes responsibility for their actions.


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