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Forgiveness and Revenge

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Despite what appears to be a strong demand for accountability and some form of punishment, a majority (61%) of the respondents say it is possible to forgive those who are responsible for the violence. In fact, 44 percent said they had already forgiven at least some of those responsible. Nevertheless, in order for forgiveness to take place, most respondents said those responsible should first apologize (40%), confess the truth (37%), change their behavior (31%), show remorse (27%), be punished (16%), and compensate the victims for their losses (12%). As the range of responses illustrates, forgiveness does not come easily. While many respondents said it is possible to forgive and some report already having forgiven at least some of the perpetrators, they also report frequently having feelings of hatred for those who committed the violence (57%). On the other hand, over one in four respondents (27%) indicated they would seek revenge if they were given the opportunity. This illustrates the complexity between the relationship of accountability, forgiveness, and desire for revenge. They are neither mutually exclusive nor collectively exhaustive.