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A former domestic abuser asks: 'I made women's lives hell. Should I apologise?'

A man who admitted to stalking, harassing and manipulating his former partners has asked if he should apologise to the women he’s hurt.

The anonymous man wrote into Outline’s ‘Dear F*ck Up’ agony aunt column, sharing his past and asking for writer Brandy Jensen’s advice.

“Until my early 20s, I was abusive toward young women,” he began in the letter published this week.

“Like many other abusers, I was in denial about who I was and what I was doing throughout this period.

“I lied to myself about the consequences of my actions and justified my behaviour with self-pitying excuses.”

The man then went into detail about his “unforgivable” behaviour.

“In relationships, I could be emotionally manipulative,” he explained. “I was prone to fits of jealousy and routinely undermined my partners’ sense of self-worth.”

“When relationships ended, I sometimes launched into vicious bouts of verbal abuse.

“In my senior year, when I was 21, I dated a girl who was 17: four years younger than me, still in high school. I made her life hell.”

He also said that outside of relationships, he would often harass women who weren’t interested, and now recognised he had stalked a close friend he was “obsessed” with for several years.

The man said that after university he finally saw himself “for the monster I was” and has since “worked hard to better myself”.

“I recognise that nothing I did was excusable. Much of it was unforgivable. I deeply regret my actions, and I wish — desperately — that I could erase myself from the lives of the people I’ve hurt.”

However, he hasn’t reached out to or apologised to the women he’s hurt over the years and wonders if he should or not.

“I want to do the right thing. Does that mean contacting the women I abused to offer an apology? Or am I right to worry that this would only cause them more pain?”

Watch: This is how to apologise effectively. Post continues…

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Agony aunt Brandy Jensen launched into a lengthy response, saying she was unable to give him a “straightforward” answer.

Jensen suggested that many of the women he hurt have probably already forgiven him, or let the baggage go.

“We hardly have a choice in the matter, as if we didn’t it would be even more difficult to move through the world. There’s only so much you can carry, and I’m sure some of these women set your burden down long ago.”

However, she said his actions may still be hurting others and hearing from him “could be an unnecessary reminder”.

She did advise, that if he reached out, not to do it through social media as it might make them feel “uncomfortable” that he still has some level of access to them.

“Outside of that, I do not have much more advice for you.”

Do you think this man should apologise to the women he’s hurt?

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