The following was sent in anonymously:
I am a survivor of sexual assault and DV and it has taken me a long time to ask the question what happened to my perpetrator to make him assault me? I was angry with him for a very long time and saddened by what he took from me, but trying to understand what happened to him to form him into a person that thought sexual assault was okay made me begin to wonder what his life had been life before I had met him.
My ex-husband committed DV (domestic violence), and just recently I have let go of the feelings of needing to confront him and make him see that his behavior was unacceptable, and that domestic violence was acceptable to utilize within marriage. It's taken me almost 15 years to realize he was an emotionally undeveloped man facing immense marital strain because he was cheating on me with our best friend and taking out those feelings on me was the only way he knew to express his anger in an inappropriate way, much like a child having a meltdown.
Radical forgiveness is hard and takes much more time than I would like to admit. There are things that will still take me back to those memories, even now at 10 and 15 years later, but I am learning to continue to put them to rest, be mindful and gentle with myself, and forgiving of who I was in those relationships where I was assaulted and abused.