UK

Katja Rosenberg On How She Met And Forgave Her Rapist

09/01/2014 15:21 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT
Marga Frontera via Getty Images

A rape victim has met her attacker in prison, to reassure him that his life is not over, and he can have a future.

Katja Rosenberg, 40, from London, told the BBC that soon after the 2006 rape, she felt forgiveness, and wanted to know what had gone wrong in her attackers life.

"I realised very much straight away or after the incident, it hadn't really or would not traumatise me the way it usually traumatises people," Rosenberg told 5Live, who arranged to meet her rapist through a restorative justice scheme.

"It had a very strong impact on my life but not so much in the way that I couldn't make peace with that having been done to me, strangely more about life being very sad or things going wrong in life.

"I felt very, very sad, but I didn't feel attacked."

Rosenberg was cycling home when a 16-year-old stranger attacked her, dragged into a dark footpath, punched in the face and chest before being raped.

Her assailant was jailed for 14 years, admitting having raped her and another 51-year-old woman shortly afterwards.

Rosenberg has asked the media not to name or print photographs of her attacker, to give him a second chance. “He had been walking this earth for a mere 16 years during which time it was quite obvious he had not seen the privilege and comfort I, or many of us, have been able to experience. Quite the opposite," she told the Daily Mirror.

"Violence breeds violence, especially in young, vulnerable souls. He was really only a child.”

"Life deals very different cards to all of us, and why somebody does something which is not applaudable - it was more about thinking, something's wrong with society," Rosenberg said on the BBC show.

"Some of us don't know where to go. You wouldn't ever do that if you felt happy."

She wanted to assure him "life's not hopeless, that he knows he's got a future".

"I just felt I could give that. I also thought the exchange would be good for me to somehow get some kind of closure - I mean, I didn't really need a 'Sorry', but it was somehow just good to see that you walk into the same direction of peace and forgiveness together.

"He was in no way looking for excuses or explanations. He was very, very self-effacing - and I thought that was fantastic in itself.

"He just really is very, very upset about his past."