Forgive, Forget, and Be Freed by Tamara Altowaiji

1 Dec
Some think that forgiveness will set them free, while hatred will trap them eternally. Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and with Ronald Cotton are two true believers of this concept. In 1984, Jennifer’s actions led to her responsibility for Ronald’s wrongful conviction for her rape. During the eleven long years Ronald was serving time for the crime he did not commit, Jennifer believed without a doubt that he was her attacker. This changed when he was proven innocent due to advances in DNA testing. Somehow, Ronald was able to forgive this woman, this stranger, although he lost over a decade of his life because of the finger she pointed in his direction. Jennifer also was able to forgive her true attacker. Forgiveness is not always justified, it is important to never do something drastic based on inkling, and justice is not always served.
            Many people hand out forgiveness generously even when they should not. They might not be deserving of forgiveness, for instance Jennifer’s real rapist. She said, “I could even forgive the man who had raped me — not because he asked me to, nor because he deserved it — but because I did not want to be a prisoner of my own hatred.” How can one forgive someone who ruined not one, but two innocent people’s lives? It is unimaginable to me, personally. Her selflessness could be seen as a noble trait but I cannot say I see it that way. In addition, Ronald forgiving Jennifer for what she has done to his life amazes me. In the interview he stated, “…we were the victims of the same injustice by the same man, and this gave us a common ground to stand on”. Maybe they were both victims, but she remains the culprit who put an innocent away without proof that he was accountable.
She was able to accept her mistake because she acquired his forgiveness. They both forgave the man who did this to them, to attain freedom from their own hatred. Their strength along with weakness is truly perplexing. Through forgiveness they were both able to live through the tragedy they endured.
This was especially difficult to read because it makes you realize justice is not always served. The article never said what happened to the real criminal. Someone had to serve time for a crime he did not commit because this man was simply a coward.
Forgiving and forgetting can help some attain peace of mind. Being victims of a related thing can bring two together, but how strong can that bond really be? It depends solely on the person involved, but these two individuals showed how we can stick together and achieve freedom through the act of forgiveness.

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