Forgiveness and child sexual abuse: A matrix of meanings— Alan Jenkins, Maxine Joy & Rob Hall



he concept of forgiveness, along with notions of apology and atonement for wrongs, can constitute highly significant preoccupations for individuals and communities whose lives have been affected by abuse. People who have been abused, those who have acted abusively and members of their families and broader communities may all have concerns and hopes about forgiveness and atonement. In the aftermath of sexual abuse, concerns about forgiveness may range from, ‘I’ll never forgive’ to ‘Why can’t I forgive?’ and these concerns may be met with preoccupations like, ‘I’ve said I’m sorry, surely it’s time for her to forgive me’ and ‘You must learn to forgive and forget’.