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Traumatically Injured Woman Forgives Her Attacker

A New York Times obituary for a woman named Victoria Ruvolo provided a moving story about the power of forgiveness.

Ms. Ruvolo’s widely publicized kindness toward her attacker provided emotional counterpoint to a senseless act that began in the early hours of Nov. 13, 2004. She was returning home from watching a niece sing at a recital in Amityville, also on Long Island. The turkey crashed through Ms. Ruvolo’s windshield, crushing the bones in her cheeks and jaw, fracturing the socket of her left eye, causing her esophagus to cave in and leaving her with brain trauma. Suffolk County prosecutors had wanted Mr. Cushing to serve the maximum of 25 years in prison for first-degree assault and other offenses. But Ms. Ruvolo persuasively argued that a long sentence would only turn him into a hardened criminal.

After his guilty plea in August 2005, Mr. Cushing—aware that Ms. Ruvolo had pressed for a short sentence—stopped to speak to her in the courtroom and wept profusely. She embraced him, stroked his face and patted his back. “I’m so sorry,” he said to her as he sobbed. “I didn’t mean it.”

“It’s O.K., it’s O.K.,” she replied. “I just want you to make your life the best it can be.”

Two months later, at his sentencing hearing in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead, he told her: “Your ability to forgive has had a profound effect on me. It has already made a positive change in my life.”

You can read her own account of the incident here.

Richard Sandomir, “Victoria Ruvolo, Who Forgave Her Attacker, Is Dead at 59,” New York Times Obituary, (3-28-19)

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