Some months ago I heard what I consider a wonderful story of seeking forgiveness. The original sin is pretty bad and even after hearing both participants, the perpetrator and the victim, I am left with many questions.
It seems that a very young girl went to a party, got drink and ended up in a room with some guy. She didn't know who he was and described the incident as rape. I am not sure of all the details. She eventually "got over it" and tried to do the best she could with her life.
Then she got a phone call that pretty much said, "I am that guy".
To make the story short, he wanted forgiveness and was willing to go anywhere and do anything. He did just that.
And I am not sure whether she forgave him or not but she pressed charges and got a conviction against him. As far as I know he is in jail now, and I have seen her on TV saying that all he did was open up a wound that was closed.
There is much more to the story, rape drugs and bang rape, that she wants resolved now. He insists that she was drunk and a willing participant. He said that he felt bad because he knew how he must have felt after having been left in an empty room of the fraternity party. He vanished because he knew that she was launching accusations he felt were untrue.
But he always felt bad and was now ready to face her, her wrath and any consequences. He told his truth as she also told her truth. I am pretty sure that he didn't actually forgave him. But I am pretty sure that he said that he had finally found closure.
Regardless of any conclusions about these two people, the situation is very similar to what has been discussed below. To me, the story means that apologies are independent of forgiveness and an honest apology brings in peace. As for the victim, or survivor of abuse, it is their prerogative to forgive or not, and how.