Additionally, rather than the understanding of forgiveness to which many add the concept of forgetting, Trudy Govier (2002, p. 61) argues that â€œThe memories that accompany forgiveness will be memories that exclude resentment and allow us to â€˜let goâ€™ while retaining the knowledge that these things were done, and they were wrong.â€
As Hannah Arendt (1998, pp. 240â€“241) argues, â€œforgiveness is the exact opposite of vengeance, which acts in the form of re-acting against an original trespassingâ€¦[it] is the only reaction which does not merely re-act but acts anew and unexpectedly, unconditioned by the act which provoked it and therefore freeing from its consequences both the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven.â€ On my reading, then, it is important to forgive both for oneâ€™s own good and in order to embrace the idea of restorative â€“ rather than retributive â€“ justice.
In the end, my sense is that if victims are unwilling or unable to begin the process of forgiving offenders, then a restorative approach to justice â€“ with its emphasis on â€œnoncustodial settlementsâ€ and â€œpeacemaking [rather] than punishmentâ€ (Cayley 1998, p. 10) â€“ will likely be seen as benefiting offenders at the expense of victims, hardly seeming to victims like justice at all.
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