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Many of us are familiar with the book Dead Man Walking written by Sr. Helen Prejean and portrayed dramatically in a movie starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon.

The clip below is an interview with Debbie Morris who is a survivor of an attack by Robert Willie, one of the men Sr. Helen walked with¬† on death row . This¬† is a story about the healing power of forgiveness. Debbie’s book- Forgiving the Dead Man Walking is describe as follows:

Already familiar to readers from the movie Dead Man Walking, this horrifying crime story, related here by one of the victims, becomes an inspiring morality tale of one woman’s redemption. In 1980, Morris, then a 16-year-old high school junior in tiny Madisonville, La., was parked with her boyfriend, Mark Brewster, along the Tchefuncte riverfront sipping a milkshake when two men suddenly appeared. Mark and Debbie were kidnapped: he was tortured and left for dead, while she was terrorized and raped repeatedly. With extraordinary presence of mind, she managed, incredibly, to talk her captors into letting her go. The aftershock, however, lasted for years: her relationship with Mark deteriorated; she dropped out of high school; and she suffered recurring claustrophobic fears. Her abductors, Robert Lee Willie and Joe Vaccaro, were captured, and Debbie aided the prosecution in its successful bid for the death penalty for Willie for the earlier rape/ murder of Faith Hathaway. After the trial, she discovered, “Justice doesn’t really heal all the wounds.” Her true path toward healing was hard won: She’s often angry at Sister Helen Prejean’s attentions to Willie (“Where was the help I needed when I felt so alone?”), at her family, at God (“I’d found it easier to forgive Robert Willie than it was to forgive God”). But at the end of a journey that rings true and intensely human, she looks to her husband, son and new life and ceases to see herself as a victim, but instead as a survivor.

Listen to Debbie in her own words as she talks with insight that peace does not necessarily come from justice. Debbie found peace when she was able to find the strength to forgive the unforgivable.

Click here to view details on Debbie’s book: Forgiving the dead Man Walking.

One Response to “Forgiving the Dead Man Walking- The other side of the story.”

  1. Olivia says:

    I remember seeing the movie and marvelling at the strength of Sr. Helen; however, I didn’t think about the victims’ feelings. This is a very powerful reminder that only through forgiveness are we able to move on and live fully.