Interview with Debbie, a rape victim of Robert Power
Feb 11, 2011
from the interview by Ines Aubert:
Ines Aubert was a pen pal of Robert Powers who had been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl. She discovered over time that Robert had changed profoundly and that he wanted, among other things, to extend an apology to any of his victims who wished to receive that.
This took on some urgency at the end of 2010 as Robert neared the end of his life (he died of cancer on December 3). Ines contacted restorative justice consultant and RJOnline Correspondent Lisa Rea for assistance, but they were unable to find a way to reach out to Robert's victims. Lisa wrote about this in an earlier blog entry on RJOB.
Commenting on an article about Robert's death in a Florida newspaper, Ines wrote that he had wanted to apologize before his death but had been unable. Another reader -- one of Robert's victims -- replied to Ines that she had forgiven Robert. The two were able to connect, and Ines recently interviewed Debbie about her experience as a victim and the reasons for her forgiveness. The following is a short excerpt of an answer Debbie gave to Ines' question about how she felt when she learned that Robert had a pen pal.
When I first thought of the prospect that Robert had a pen pal, I thought of these “nut jobs” that fall in love with prison inmates. Although I had forgiven him, I couldn’t see how or why someone would want to call him a friend. Even now as I sit and write this, I can’t wrap my brain around being his friend, but I was never given that opportunity either.
We as humans are very curious creatures, so I decided to investigate. I followed the bread crumbs that you left and prayed for God to reveal the truth. As Christians, we are to be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.
The human part of me, my mind, will, and emotions were saying, “How can this be?”; the spiritual side of me was saying, “With man this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible.”
The first thing I read was the interview, “The Big Challenge” that you did with Robert. When I came to the part about him being a Christian, a smile came over my face, and when I read the letter of apology, tears streamed down my face. I was overjoyed to have come to know that Robert would indeed be in heaven with me.
I even slapped God a high five and said, “You go God!”
I can honestly say there was a bounce in my step again.