As abuse victims, we choose various means of expressing our pain, and seeking comfort for it. The one thing victims should not do is attack one another for those choices.
Perhaps the most divisive issue for abuse victims is forgiveness. Many victims view forgiveness as impossible, and forgiveness by other victims of their own abusers as a betrayal.
But forgiveness is, first and foremost, the decision by an abuse victim not to center his or her life wholly on the violation .
Forgiveness does NOT imply approval of the violation. Forgiven or not, the abuser should, if at all possible, be held accountable for the criminal act(s) of which s/he is guilty. That may involve imprisonment, chemical castration, and lifelong monitoring to prevent a recurrence.
Whatever we do, we cannot fully balance the scales once a child has been violated . In most cases, the child must deal with the scars of abuse for a lifetime. For that very reason, the decision by a victim whether or not to forgive his or her abuser is entirely personal, not subject to a general critique, even by other victims . Continue reading