- Showing 1 posts filed under: Forgiveness [–] published between Mar 01, 2010 and Mar 31, 2010 [Show all]
After murders, families find a healing path
Note: Forgiveness is a controversial and difficult topic for many victims of crime. Nevertheless, there are victims who are able to forgive those who have harmed them severely. They do this for many reasons -- there may be as many reasons as there are victims who forgive.
After restorative encounters, some victims find that they wish to forgive the offender. This is not the goal of restorative justice, however. The value of restorative encounters for victims is to achieve some measure of healing; in some instances that includes forgiveness. The following article is the story of survivors of two brutal murders who have chosen to forgive.
Four sisters — Ruth, Frieda, Bess and Suzy — have lived 40 years without their mother. Helen Klassen, a Sunday school teacher, was murdered March 14, 1969.
Bill Pelke’s grandmother, Ruth Pelke, was killed by four teenage girls in Gary who robbed her house May 14, 1985.
These acts of violence devastated two families and, for the Klassen sisters, infected the years of their youth. Their path to adulthood was fraught with struggles of how to heal and when to forgive.
On March 15 at College Mennonite Church, Pelke and three of the Klassen sisters spoke about their evolution from fear and anger to healing and forgiveness. Their stories have been told around the world through Journey of Hope, an organization co-founded by Pelke and led by murder victims’ family members, such as the Klassens, who oppose the death penalty.