While many people strive to forgive and forget, the story of Christine Robbins stands out as an example of the truly remarkable.
The man she has forgiven was a rapist who attacked her years ago, leaving her crippled by fear and haunted by terrible memories.
Robbins was in her 20s and a proud new homeowner when the brutal crime changed the course of her life.
It was 20 years ago, in the fall of 1986, that rapists broke into her house in Akron, Ohio.
"What I'd heard was someone cutting my kitchen window open and coming in through my kitchen," Robbins said. "And I remember opening my eyes and seeing people in my room. That's where it all changed."
There were two intruders who ransacked the house, raped Robbins, then tied her up and disappeared. Robbins survived the attack but then faced terrible, crippling fear.
"I was scared to death for a long, long, long, long time," she said.
While she never saw the faces of her attackers, specific details were locked in her memory and soon led police to the criminals.
"I knew what they were wearing because of the sound of the zipper, that stiff denim, I knew they were wearing jeans," she told Smith. "And I knew one of them … was wearing a parka because I felt the fabric on my face."
That was enough for police to track down Lane Mikaloff, 18 at the time, and an accomplice. The pair eventually confessed and were sentenced to 16 years in Ohio state prison.
Robbins found a way to move on, with the support of her family, which was never far away.
"I have a brother, my only brother, who stepped up to the plate and became my dad during all this," she said. "He took very, very good care of me and made sure that I wasn't alone."
Robbins went on to a successful career in the postal service, married the love of her life, Dick Robbins, and had three sons.
As a full-time mom with a full-time job, she had more to think about than the past. She paid no attention on the day in 2002 when Lane Mikaloff walked free from prison and made his way back to town. Chris Robbins didn't know it, but their lives would intersect again — in a way she could never imagine.
On Wednesday's The Early Show, Robbins tells Smith of her long, slow path to forgiveness and the remarkable events that followed.