Reading these kinds of stories has always been a little painful for me, but perhaps not for the reason one would think (or maybe it is).
The reason it’s painful for me is because I know many of these transgressions (minus the hitting) are things that a younger me was totally capable of doing, and the only reason it didn’t was my shyness and social awkwardness preventing me from getting into those situations in the first place.
I’ve read enough stories over the years, including one or two from people I’ve known, that I believe the me of today would know better and show restraint. But I have no doubts that if a younger me found myself in such a position I would not have been able to show restraint, even if I would have had qualms about it.
I do wonder though, if I had been the perpetrator in the past, especially if it was on multiple occasions, if I would be able to take this perspective today, or if the cognitive dissonance would be too great. Even now, I find myself empathizing both with the victim and the perpetrator, more so with the victim, but that’s partially due to the perspective from which it is written. I find myself able to empathize with the perpetrators because I can imagine “that could have been me”, and that’s an uncomfortable thought, but an important one. I’m not sure if it should be comforting or discomforting that these thoughts and attitudes are probably not uncommon.