The difference between the victim and the perpetrator is that the victim remembers absolutely everything and the perpetrator remembers nothing at all. That’s probably why I remember every slander and pervasive lie so vividly.
I remember the boy at school who spread the rumour which made my final years there pure misery; those at college who trashed my reputation completely; all that was said about me by my family when I took up this path; the lies of my fellow travellers at university; the accusations of a colleague at work.
Mostly, those slanders and lies began with a seed of truth, or at least with an understanding of the truth. That is how slanders usually start. There is the truth which feeds the lie. That is the truth which seems to justify all that follows, both in the minds of the perpetrator and the victim.
I don’t imagine that boy at school remembers me at all, but I remember him. I don’t imagine those at college remember me, but I recall them all. I don’t imagine those believers at university remember that I ever wandered amongst then. At least as a family, we exchanged heartfelt apologies in the end.
For my part, I try to forgive those slanders and lies, and those that wilfully promulgated and believed in them. May they be some kind of purification for me; I’m certainly most in need of that. In truth, forgiveness is relatively easy, but to forget? Unfortunately, forgetting isn’t within my gift. Those memories are imprinted on my soul.