These are all excellent and valid questions. I don’t know if it helps to hear this, but I believe there should be a point in time when someone can come back and “be seen” again. I’m just not sure how that would affect the people they’ve hurt.
I was raped when I was ten years old, and I moved on. My life eventually didn’t center around that one thing. It was harder for me because the person who did it never went to prison even though he admitted to doing it. But, I was no longer in his orbit and I healed.
I feel like it’s more complicated because when it’s someone famous, they inevitably get back into your daily life . . . either because you happen to see them, or because some well-meaning people warn you that they’ve resurfaced. The resurgence of talk about this terrible thing that happened to you is painful. (I went through that, too, but on a much smaller scale.) Somehow, people don’t think about how it feels to have this terrible thing that you’d left behind get re-chained to your present life.
I think part of the “conditions” of re-gaining popularity should be that they talk openly about how much their behavior hurt people, how it was wrong. They need to be a force for good and someone who educates folks on why they shouldn’t go down that path. Otherwise, they need to stay out of the limelight because all they’re doing is re-hurting people. To my mind, we shouldn’t give our support to people who are not willing to occasionally do this.
It’s fine if someone is a person who can’t handle exposing information about that part of their life to the world. Not everybody is. But if someone is that type of person, they should stay out of the limelight instead of resurfacing.
If you think about it, there are lots of ex-gang members who come to speak to children in school. (Or maybe that was just my school? 😋) Any time that happened, it was someone who had served their time and who was open about how their past was wrong. They didn’t necessarily always talk about how being in a gang was bad, but it was a conversation these folks were willing to have. That willingness to talk, and that demonstration of how their understanding had changed, was what made them trustworthy.
I think that’s at least one thing we should look for to see if folks have truly reformed their ways or not.