August 23, 2017

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Mother forgives daughter's attackers

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/11/2014 (1014 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The mother of the 16-year-old girl who was attacked, thrown into a river and left for dead, says she has forgiven her attackers.

Julie Harper, Rinelle's mother, said she came to that decision when she was told two people had been arrested and charged with attempted murder.

Rinelle Harper

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Rinelle Harper

"The first thing that came to me was to forgive right away," she said today after a news conference.

"Of any family members are listening I forgive them. That's what I was taught to do by my grandparents.

"It's hard but I truly forgive them."

But the mother said she would not comment about whether she wants the pair charged to go to jail.

Grateful for prayers

Earlier, Rinelle's parents said their daughter is recovering and Winnipeggers will hear from her soon.

They said the second-year student at Southeast Collegiate wants to get back to school as soon as possible - this week if she could.

The parents - Julie and Ceasar - also thanked Winnipeggers for coming forward with tips which led to the quick arrest of two men.

"Thank you so much," Ceasar said.

Julie said when she first saw her daughter's injuries in the intensive care unit "I didn't recognize her.

"I didn't think it is Rinelle. But every day she's getting a lot better.

"I believe it is the prayers (from people touched by Rinelle's attack) which pulled her through."

'The acts of violence have to stop'

Grand Chief David Harper, of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, thanked community members for their support of Rinelle and her family.

Harper called on people to stop social-media attacks on the family of the men charged.

He also asked everyone to continue to come forward with tips when a woman or girl becomes a victim of violence.

"One family is hurting already and two others are hurting," he said.

"We have to turn this around. This is the hour we have to call for a change... The acts of violence have to stop."

Harper says Rinelle was moved from pediatric intensive care to a regular ward at Children's Hospital on Wednesday.

Work together, family urges

Fred Harper, Rinelle's grandfather, said the entire family gives thanks "to the extended family, to the community and to the hundreds of families and individuals who have shared their continuous prayers and support for Rinelle's health and recovery."

Fred said the family also thanks the Winnipeg police for their quick investigation.

"The family is relieved to know that the two accused perpetrators are off the street," he said.

Fred asked that anyone who wants to organize an event or rally in Rinelle's name to contact them first. Earlier this week a rally in behalf of missing and murdered women was called off when Rinelle's family objected, saying no one called them.

"Rinelle's family is asking everyone to work together to make our communities safe places for our girls and women."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Read more by Kevin Rollason.

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