Rape victim meets her attacker in prison... to forgive him

Katja Rosenberg said she 'found it a rewarding, uplifting experience'

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The Independent Online

A rape victim has told how she met the man who attacked her so she could forgive him in person.

Katja Rosenberg, a 40-year-old artist, said she did not think her attacker - currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for her rape and the rape of a 51-year-old woman - had done something “unforgivable”.

And she said she hoped he would be able to “live a successful life” once he was released.

Ms Rosenberg met her attacker through a restorative justice project.

“He was not a scary sight - just a human being sitting at a table, waiting, anxious,” she said of the meeting in an interview with the Daily Mirror.

“I walked over, shook his hand and introduced myself. I wanted to show him it had not affected my life and that I had understood and forgiven him. I wanted to free the past.

“It was positive for me and positive for him. I’d be happy to meet him again if he is released at some stage in the future to work with him to encourage others. The meeting left me feeling we have a deep and extraordinary understanding as human beings.”

Ms Rosenberg, who lives in London, was attacked in October 2006 as she cycled home. The then 16-year-old punched her in the face, stomach and chest and raped her.

Ms Rosenberg said the man, now 23, was brave to agree to see her.

“I do not agree that he did something unforgivable,” she said.

“I feel that I have now given him everything I can for him to be able to believe in himself and to believe he has a future.

“I found him impressive and I saw a lot of character and intelligence and endless courage. I hope he will be able to live a successful life and inspire people.”

She said her attacker took more “honest and uncompromising responsibility” for his actions than most people she had met.

The attack had not ruined her life, she said, “and I hope it will not ruin this young man’s life either."

Ms Rosenberg said she was not allowed to talk about what happened at the meeting, but she said it lasted for two-and-a-half hours.

“I found it a rewarding, uplifting experience,” she said.