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Over a decade ago Rosalyn was repeatedly raped and tortured at knifepoint by a serial rapist, who broke into her home one evening, whilst her two year old daughter slept in the room next door. The rapist was apprehended, convicted and received three life sentences for his crimes. Rosalyn felt strongly that she wanted to meet her attacker to ask ‘Why?’
Restorative Justice is a process that involves both the victim and the offender and in which both must be willing and agree to participate.
A willingness to forgive the offender it is not a precondition to participation in Restorative Justice. A lot of participants do not forgive and never intend to – it can be about getting answers, a step to aid recovery and enabling the offender to understand the impact of their actions
Rosalyn had to push hard for the right to meet her attacker.
Fourteen years on from the crime and in 2014 Rosalyn was sitting face to face in a Restorative Justice conference with the man who had attacked her.
“When he was led into the room I found myself transfixed.”
“I didn’t recognise the man sitting opposite me as the monster who had attacked me. He looked nervous, sad and weak. I had carried an image of him in my mind for (14) years and he wasn’t the same man. There were seven people, my friend, facilitators, prison officers present, and he was asked to give his version of events leading up to the attack. He took a long time to speak. He couldn’t look me in the eye. But as he described the moment he first saw me, he finally looked at me.”
“He said he was a monster that night, he enjoyed violence and got a kick out of it. He apologised and said he’d had years of therapy in prison but didn’t realise until that day the actual harm he had caused.”
Meeting the man who raped gave me a chance to voice the harm caused – not just to me but to everyone involved – and see for myself if I was at further risk. Since the meeting, life has been better, I generally feel lighter, less afraid and happier.
“I realised that the attack was about power and control. Now I have regained my sense of personal power and control.”