It’s not typical to hear of victims of acid attacks saying they forgive their attackers. But four American college students who were recently attacked at a train station in France don’t seem to think their assailant deserves anything but compassion.
The students were the victims of an acid attack that happened on Sept. 17 at the Saint Charles train station, which is located in the southern French city of Marseille. According to French authorities, the assailant is a 41-year-old woman who suffers from a mental illness. She was arrested after the attack.
Two of the students, The Washington Post reports, asked their friends and families for prayers for their assailant in a Facebook post. Michelle Krug, one of the victims, says “a weak solution of hydrochloric acid” splashed and hit her eye during the attack. Still, she asked friends to “consider thinking about/praying for our attacker.”
“Mental illness is not a choice and should not be villainized,” she added.
Another victim, Courtney Siverling, said that she wasn’t injured and that her friends are safe.
“I pray that the attacker would be healed from her mental illness in the name of Jesus and receive the forgiveness and salvation that can only come from Him,” she told her Facebook friends.
The Boston College students are in Europe for educational purposes and will remain there to continue their studies.
The attack was not terror-related.
While it’s saddening to think that nobody is safe from random acid attacks anywhere in the world, it’s quite refreshing to know that the victims in this particular incident were able to see that the assailant is a person whose disturbing mental state warrants forgiveness and compassion instead of hate.
In a time when so many of us struggle with the hateful actions of people who are everything but compassionate to those who are different, it’s heartening to see real victims demonstrate the very opposite sentiment.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier