Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Could you forgive?

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Imagine your child is the victim of a sexual predator.And image that predator is a member of your own family.That nightmare scenario played out in a Winnipeg court recently, where a man was to be sentenced for molesting and making child pornography with his seven-year-old niece.I'm not sure what shocked me more - the details of this horrific crime, or the reaction from the victim's mother.The woman stood up to read her impact statement, and I was expecting words of anger and even hate to emerge.But they didn't.The woman began by telling her brother she still loved him. And that she weeps for him and their broken family. That she has no "vengeful feelings at all" for him. And that she hopes one day they can "heal and be a family, as we were before."Her words still continue to play in my mind, now several days after hearing them.Her husband wasn't nearly as forgiving. He told his brother-in-law "I am saying good-bye and never want to see you again."My biggest concern here isn't the fact the mother can apparently find it in her heart to forgive. It's what kind of impact that will have on her daughter - today, tomorrow and well down the road.Is she going to resent her mother for seemingly standing by the side of her abuser? Is she going to feel like what happened to her is "no big deal"?Only time will tell. But I can't imagine the path being taken by her mother is going to do anything to help the healing process.I just don't get it.Do you???

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About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.

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