In the 11 years since Jane Piper was beaten and raped in the back seat of her car, she’s been mulling over some choice words for her assailant.
On Tuesday, in a Los Angeles courthouse, she finally got to share them with the perpetrator, emphasizing her statement with three remarkable words in particular: “I forgive you.”
“I acknowledge that you did these disgusting things to me, for whatever reason,” she said, addressing her rapist, 58-year-old Gilbert Lozano Trejo, “and I forgive you, human being to human being.”
During the sentencing, Piper addressed Trejo for nearly 30 minutes, confronting him about the crime and its impacts. “Do you want to be a better person?” she asked. “Do you wish that you hadn’t done this stuff? Who is the person you once wanted to be?”
Rape victims’ identities aren’t typically released, but Piper has opted to publicize her ordeal in the hope that it might help others in similar situations. “We hear a lot about rape,” she said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times before Tuesday’s hearing. “But not from victims. … I want people to hear that I survived and it’s OK to talk about this thing.”
“Women are raped every single day, and yet we so very rarely hear from them,” she added. “I do not want to be silent.”
Need help? In the U.S., visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.