Can we forgive the unforgivable?


PSYCHOLOGY – Crime, terrorism, incest… Some victims need to forgive these serious acts in order to overcome them. But this singular approach is far from imposing itself on everyone, and is in no way a prerequisite for appeasement.

Jean-Pierre is the father of Stéphane, who was assassinated at the Bataclan on November 13, 2015. At 31and day of the trial which opened last year, he ended his testimony by saying about the defendants: “I have no hatred, but I do not have the strength to forgive them, I hope God will forgive them and forgive us for not forgiving”, reported Charlie Hebdo. But why would this forgiveness be necessary? Is it only conceivable when one has been the victim, or one of his relatives, of a terrorist attack, of incest or child abuse, acts high on the scale of criminal repression and ‘atrocity?

“This term forgiveness, which has a religious basis, does not belong to the field of psychology, specifies Carole Damiani, doctor in psychology and director of the association Paris Aid to victims. Psychologists speak rather of repair. But some victims spontaneously approach the question of forgiveness in consultation. In this case, we are trying to find out…

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