Marina Cantacuzino a journalist and the founder of The Forgiveness Project in London writes for the Huffington Post about having compassion for those who commit even the most despicable crimes and the power it gives victims.  Marina has interviewed and written about dozens of people from all over the world who have been seriously hurt by crimes, those who committed the offenses, and how the power of forgiveness has helped people heal.

She discusses the recent case of Phillip Garrido who was charged with kidnapping and raping an 11 year old, who he kept for 18 years and had two children with.  Marina implies that Garrido “must be locked away” but challenges us to wonder if he is “deserving of compassion” as well?

Marina tells the moving story of Rebecca de Mauro whose 12-year-old daughter was kidnapped and murdered and how she eventually finds healing after she is able to forgive the killer.  Ms. de Mauro sees another victim of an atrocious crime forgive a murderer during a televised sentencing, and comes to realize that she has more power in forgiving than in hating.

Forgiving does not mean condoning bad behavior.  It does not mean you have to like, or have a relationship with someone who hurt you.  It simply means letting go of hate and resentment and putting that energy into making your life more meaningful and positive.  It is something that people hurt by wrongdoing can do to help themselves.

Ms. de Mauro, like many people hurt by crime, found healing and life again by taking back her power to not hate.  “I had been consumed with hate for the man who had murdered my daughter. My heart and soul had been filled with blackness and it nearly killed me. It had almost destroyed my family, too. I knew that if something didn’t change I would be in the graveyard, dead from a broken heart, next to my little daughter.”  By forgiving Ms. de Mauro was able to find her life again even after losing the most precious thing in it.

Thank you for your blog Marina.  People hurt by crime need to find ways to heal and forgiveness is surly a vital one.