• Sat, May 11 2013

I Can’t Grasp How Mother Of Cleveland Kidnapping Victim Can ‘Forgive’ Alleged Kidnapper

status-imageThe mother of Gina De Jesus, one of the kidnapping victims in the horrific case in Cleveland, has said she “forgives” Ariel Castro – alleged kidnapper, rapist, and torturer of her child. As a mother, I can’t wrap my head around this.

In an interview with 20/20, mother Nancy Ruiz said:

“I would hug him and I would say, ‘God bless you.’ I would say, ‘God bless you,’ and I’d hug him. I did not hate him. I forgave him years ago. I said it: I forgive whoever done it, just let her go.”

“Because you know what?” Ruiz added. “When you start to hate a person, that eats you up. I don’t have time for that. I have to be, you know, I want to be happy, like I am now.”

Am I judging her? No. I think she is doing something amazing for herself by making this declaration – essentially freeing herself of the agony she has had to endure for all of these years. This kind of disgust and hate only eats you up inside. I know, because I feel it. I feel it for what happened to her child. And I can’t let it go.

I am against the death penalty. Not for the reasons you probably think – I’m not some super-Christian humanitarian. I just think that our justice system is flawed and racist – and I don’t think the death penalty is something that could possible be fairly executed in this country. That doesn’t mean I don’t want a man like Castro to die if he is found guilty of his crimes. In fact, I’d like him to die an awful, painful, miserable death for the years that he stole from these women – and the torture they allegedly had to endure.

I feel the same way when I read about horrific rapes and children being abused. The hatred that I have for those that allegedly have victimized others is so deep and consuming it scares me sometimes. When the stories of the men who brutalized that young woman on a bus in India came forward, I actually said, “I wish they would just gather these men up and set them on fire.” And I meant it.

There’s nothing noble or healing about my reactions to these crimes. My first thought when I hear De Jesus’ mother say should would hug Castro is “how could you?” My second is, “Why couldn’t I?” I just don’t have it in me to forgive these monsters. I don’t think I ever could.

(photo: FBI.gov)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1165875627 Jennifer Ives O’Meara

    Until you become the victim, or the family of a victim, no one really knows how they will feel or behave in the end. All I know, I have no problem with the death penalty. Death comes to us all, and if you brutually attack someone, especially a child, you deserve to move to the front of the line of a firing squad. I have already come to terms with this issue and sleep soundly on it. As far as the mother of Gina, she is obviously a blessed woman, to be able to forgive is a great act of humanity that most people are incapable of, she has her daughter back, and I believe she feels greatful.

  • Justme

    It sounds like her forgiveness really had nothing to do with the perpetrator but instead her own frame of mind.

    This is in NO way on the same level, but after the dissolution of an abusive relationship I had in college, I was ANGRY at everything in life because of what he did to me. My parents and my friends bore the brunt of my frustration and anger, even though they had nothing to do with it. One day I woke up and I realized that I was tired of being angry. So I forgave him for what he did to me – I didn’t have to say it to his face but just putting that thought out into the universe helped me to heal and allowed me to move on in my life.

    The power of forgiveness is sometimes stronger for the victim than it is for the perpetrator. I also think, for those of us who believe in a righteous and just God, that people who do bad things like this will one day have to stand before Him and be held accountable for their actions. Justice here on Earth pales in comparison to the righteous hand of God.

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

      I agree. Forgiveness does not mean you and that person are cool by any means. It means you are letting it go. Hanging onto it can hurt you more than them.

  • Cee

    I don’t know if I would be strong enough to feel that way she does. It might just be her acting on the emotion of it all. It has not even been a week since all of this has happened. Maybe after she sits a while with her daughter and hears details or after the media and everything dies off she will think a bit more and feel differently? If she doesn’t, well..good for her. Whatever helps her. Like she said, she can’t become a big ball of hate. After all, her daughter is alive and with her now.

    I just can’t grasp the whole..hugging him and blessing him. That to me is a bit hard to understand.

    • Justme

      The only way I can wrap my head around the hugging and blessing part is that…maybe after ten years of fearing that her daughter was dead, maybe she’s in some weird way grateful that at least he didn’t kill her? Does that make sense?

    • Cee

      Yea. It does make sense that way. Gosh, that woman is strong

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

      Yeah, that part of it. No. Couldn’t do it. As far as giving it up to God and the hands of the law, yes. But actually hugging and blessing him? Nope.

  • Annie

    There’s a number of reasons why a mother might feel this way, it’s okay not to operate the same way and to think you’re incapable of the same. I myself don’t think I’d forgive someone who did this to my hypothetical child.

    If she’s gone for this long hoping her daughter was alive, then she was hanging onto what she said when pleading for her release at the beginning of the ordeal: “I forgive whoever done it. Just let her go.”

    Under the same circumstances (I won’t say this is what this woman’s thinking because I’m not big on conjecture, especially about such a sensitive subject), one might believe that Castro ‘held up his end of the bargain’. He kept Gina alive, he ‘returned’ her. This way of thinking is common with families of hostages or victions of abduction because they’re just so grateful that their loved one was returned alive. It endears the abductor to them.

    This post is worded a little woogity because of allergy medication but I hope I got the main idea across. It’s okay not to understand or feel forgiveness.

  • Amber

    There’s an enormous difference between not wanting someone killed and giving them a great big hug and saying “God Bless you” to them. Huge spectrum right there.

    I hope she’s not trying to push her daughter to also “forgive” instead of dealing with the natural feelings that she will have after being abducted and abused.

  • meteor_echo

    I can’t understand how people would forgive someone who kidnapped their child and raped her for 10 years – “Like, yeah, the guy raped you? Well, no biggie, I still forgive him for it”. I don’t have children and never will, but, if somebody kidnapped my partner and subjected him to torture and sexual assault, I’d find this person and kill them. And I mean it. I’m not forgiving and not a nice human being at all.
    Besides, I wonder how Gina herself must feel, knowing that her mother “forgave” the monster who turned her life into hell on Earth for a whole decade. I thik that, if my parents “forgave” my rapist, I’d feel so repulsed by them that I’d cease all contact with them and do my best to disown them. The only forgiveness that can take place in this situation can only come from Gina herself – and only if she decides so. Nobody should forgive a rapist on the victim’s behalf. NOBODY.

    • mcintoshbj

      She didn’t forgive the rapist on her daughter’s behalf. She forgave the rapist on her OWN behalf. Gina may or may not feel ready or willing to forgive herself. To forgive a person their injuries against you doesn’t mean that you are okay with what they did. It means that you forgive another their trespass against you, as you desire God to forgive your trespass(es) against anyone else.

      I don’t think anyone can say that they have never trespassed against another. You can’t very well say I forgive anyone who has committed no greater trespass than mine. Either you abide by God’s guidance to forgive, or you don’t. If you choose not to forgive others, you choose concurrently to not BE forgiven.

    • meteor_echo

      a) Try to explain this without pulling deities into it, please.
      b) She’s not in her place to forgive this man. The major harm was NOT done to her – while she did think that her daughter was dead, and for many years, it’s her daughter who suffered much, much more.

      “Gina may or may not feel ready or willing to forgive herself.”W
      What. The. Fuck. Are you implying that she should forgive HERSELF for being kidnapped and raped? If yes, then you’re a vile, sick person and a disgrace to your god’s principles.

    • Justme

      I read the “herself” part as a misplaced pronoun. A better way to put it might have been: “Gina herself might not feel ready or willing to forgive.”

    • meteor_echo

      I hope so :<

    • mcintoshbj

      Yes you interpreted my mangled sentence correctly. Thank you.

    • mcintoshbj

      Why should I avoid expressing an opinion that includes mention of God? You of course are entitled to believe whatever you do or don’t, but do you think that your right to hold your own beliefs includes a right to expect that others suppress expression of any beliefs contrary to yours? Or is it just the mention of God that you find disturbing?

    • meteor_echo

      No, I just want a rational explanation as to why a mother of a girl who had been kidnapped, held hostage for 10 years, raped multiple times, had miscarriages, etc., would forgive the sick fucks who did it – on her daughter’s behalf. To me, this is appalling and beyond reprehensible, because I do not think she has the right to “forgive” the rapist without considering her daughter’s feelings. She would hug and bless the men who did this to her kid? I wouldn’t want such a woman any close to me if I were her kid. And if she really thinks that her actions are right in the eyes of some deity, it’s even more terrifying to me.

  • LiteBrite

    All I can say is this mother is a way stronger woman than I think I would be in this case.

    • Shontaviqo

      What’s with all this business of “forgiveness” as a sign of strength? It is not a sign of strength. It is a sign of idiocy. It shows no respect for the victim. It shows that the uhm – ahh – er – like – y’know – weallll… “mother” I guess, also doesn’t know how to behave altogether, and might as well be a cheerleader waving a GO GO GO!!! banner encouraging more monsters to commit more and more such crimes against humanity and society as a whole.

  • Michelle Pittman

    read about Patty Porter of Canton, OH…the mother of a young woman (Jessie Davis) murdered by her boyfriend while pregnant…while her toddler son was present…i find people who can manage to forgive those who have committed atrocious acts against them awe-inspiring…also, forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone what the person did, just that you forgive them of the act…all of that hate and anger is only going to hurt you…