“I forgive you because I have to.”
That’s how Rachel Lacey begins her powerful poem “I Forgive You.” Lacey’s spoken word tells the story of how she was sexually abused as a young girl and how she forgave her abuser in order to heal.
“I forgive you… even though you would get mad when I wouldn’t play your fucked up game,” she told the crowd. “Even though it wasn’t just one time or two or three or four or I don’t know how many times, but I know how many years it to me to forgive you.”
In the poem, which was recently uploaded to the YouTube poetry page Write About Now, Lacey explained that she was in a psychology class her freshman year of college when she received an assignment to write a letter of forgiveness. Although her professor told her no one would read it, she still had to write it.
“I forgive you even though you never said ‘I’m sorry,’” she said. “Even though there was nothing OK about what you did. Because not forgiving you means hating you, means hating myself, means toxic, means poison, means hating myself.”
Her last line is the most impactful of them all, explaining to the crowd how she’s been able to heal through forgiveness:
Thanks for sharing your story, Rachel.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.