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Radio Sandwell Miscellanea

Rape victim meets attacker to forgive him

2014-01-09 15:58:29

Ms Rosenberg said she "could intuitively feel" that she had to meet her attacker

A rape victim has met her attacker in prison to tell him she has forgiven him - and called it a "great" experience to seek "peace and forgiveness together".

Katja Rosenberg, 40, from London, said she felt she could forgive soon after the 2006 rape, believing things must have gone wrong in her attacker's life.

"You wouldn't ever do that if you felt happy," she told BBC Radio 5 live.

Of their meeting last year, she said he was "completely" remorseful and "so focused" on no longer being violent.

Ms Rosenberg was cycling home from a drink after work when she was attacked by a 16-year-old stranger.

He was jailed for 14 years after admitting that attack and another rape of a 51-year-old woman shortly afterwards.

"I realised very much straight away or after the incident, it hadn't really or would not traumatise me the way it usually traumatises people," Ms Rosenberg told 5 live's Victoria Derbyshire.

"It had a very strong impact on my life but not so much in the way that I couldn't make peace with that having been done to me, strangely more about life being very sad or things going wrong in life.

"I felt very, very sad, but I didn't feel attacked."

She continued: "Life deals very different cards to all of us, and why somebody does something which is not applaudable - it was more about thinking, something's wrong with society.

"Some of us don't know where to go. You wouldn't ever do that if you felt happy."

Ms Rosenberg, who was also punched in the face, chest and stomach before being raped, said she had always felt in the years since that she should meet her attacker.

She finally visited him in prison last September, for a meeting arranged through the restorative justice scheme with the support of the Probation Service.

Partly, this was motivated by a wish to assure him "life's not hopeless, that he knows he's got a future", she said.

"I just felt I could give that. I also thought the exchange would be good for me to somehow get some kind of closure - I mean, I didn't really need a 'Sorry', but it was somehow just good to see that you walk into the same direction of peace and forgiveness together."

She added: "He was in no way looking for excuses or explanations. He was very, very self-effacing - and I thought that was fantastic in itself.

"He just really is very, very upset about his past."

In the Daily Mirror newspaper, columnist Alison Phillips said Ms Rosenberg's story was "incredibly inspirational" and that she had "taken control of what happened to her that day".

Ms Rosenberg told 5 live: "It's just great to go to a healthy place together. It's just great to go to a place that overrides or reaches beyond what happened."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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