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#414820 - 10/31/12 12:57 AM Forgiving Your Abuser???
M. J. Stewart Offline


Registered: 10/01/12
Posts: 20
Loc: PA
My friend shared her story with me on how she forgave her abuser. Obviously the dynamics are different with males but still I wanted to share in hopes it helped someone with the healing process:

“You play mommy, I play daddy.” That was the phrase I began to hate with a passion. It came from someone I thought was my brother. The thing was I loved and looked up to my cousin. He took care of me and the least I could do was play the role of mommy, even though it was uncomfortable. I was a chubby little girl who wanted love. A chubby little girl who thought so little of herself. A chubby little girl who was rejected by everyone except him. The truth was we both adored each other, trusted each other, and thought the world of each other. At least that’s what I thought.

I had a family that completely ignored the fact that we were growing up. We needed a true Godly definition of sex, relationships, etc. My cousin was given a perverted interpretation of sex from friends at school and concluded that “any sex” was love. Even in my young age, I knew it was wrong but I trusted him.

One day we were at his house upstairs and he began touching me strangely without saying anything. I couldn’t understand what was going on, but I just knew I couldn’t tell anyone. I knew that this was the beginning of something that I had no control over.

This progressed until literally every part of my body had been touched by him and I was forced to be silent. This went on almost every week for years.

As I too grew older, I learned really what was going on and began to become defensive. But he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I grew bitter, I thought my family knew and allowed me to be hurt. I began pretending to be sick to skip family functions. My parents forced me to go and it would still happen. I was afraid that if I wasn’t there he would hurt my sister. Each time it would progress as his school friends gave him more ideas of what him and I should do together. I was forced to do things that even to this day I wouldn’t do with anyone at the cost of him revealing our secret and making it out to be my fault. A deep hatred for my family developed because they ignored the signs. They didn’t know the signs. My family’s ignorance hurt me more than the actual acts I was put through.

Eventually, he realized how wrong he was and apologized. But deep down I was so hurt. How could a “sorry” fix a whole childhood of sexual abuse? Trying to be a “good Christian”, I tried to live my life like nothing ever happened.

The sick truth was I missed what we had even though I hated it. It was a lose-lose situation for me. Deep down I imagined him and I, and then him and others. I was too young to have to face this. I went in my own world. I became addicted to porn and masturbation. When I was lonely I would, when I was stressed I would, when it was a good day I would, when it was a bad day I would. I thought this was my own fault and tried to put in my mind that it was consensual even though I knew it wasn't.

The silence damaged me to the point where I talked very little to everyone. People knew me as the quiet kid, but this quiet kid had to keep quiet in order to not release the pain she felt to the world.

As it grew deeper my life was falling apart. I was suicidal and depressed. One day I heard something slither near me and say, “I’m going to make you my wife.” I was sad but even in this darkness I wanted to belong to someone. I felt that my cousin had handed me over to be molested by Satan after he was finished with me.

God cornered me and showed me that the God I thought I knew wasn’t really who He was. I came from a traditional church that wasn’t prepared to deal with real life issues. I learned that God wasn’t out to get me and that he could be what I needed, a real Papa. He would protect me no matter what and save me from absolutely everything. I had finally found someone to fill that void in my heart. When He came, I knew that I wanted to be a part of his Bride even though I didn’t understand the terminology. With Papa’s help he helped me turn away from the hurt and feel real love for the first time. He allowed me to get in the bed with him, be intimate with him but he would never hurt me.

The story doesn’t end here because the moment that Christ comes was really just the beginning of my healing. God sees you in danger and performs the surgery that saves your life. The next step is preventing more infection – “unforgiveness” and healing. For me it has been a process and a journey.

Forgiveness was hard. BUT IN ORDER NOT TO DIE FROM THE SURGERY, ONE MUST MAKE SURE ONCE THE WOUND IS STITCHED THAT IT DOESN’T GET INFECTED. Real forgiveness of the violator must come or it will cause you to spiritually die.
When you forgive a person it is not saying that what they did was right, it is saying that I WANT TO LIVE. Someone who violates others typically comes to a state where they know what they did was wrong and they want to be free. We have to remember that if you constantly kill your violator with unforgiveness, threats, etc. you both will die.

After taking the time to deal with the pain and forgive, we were able to regain our friendship and now have a pure relationship. I’ve written this anonymously to protect him, but I pray that my story helps those who need to learn how to forgive your violator. The moment I forgave him, I gained my childhood back. Gain your life back today!
_________________________
Visit my blog>>> http://www.sanctumsanctorium.com/

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#414821 - 10/31/12 01:40 AM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
whome Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1734
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hi MJ

Awesome Thanks for Posting this. I still love the expression, "Bitterness is a poison pill we swallow to make the other person disappear" That's what not forgiving does to us, it keeps us bitter and hateful towards something that we cannot control.

At an AA meeting the other day someone shared on the serenity prayer. God Grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the things that I cannot change, The COURAGE to change the things that I can, and the WISDOM to KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.
Knowing what we can and cannot change is a very important step.
We cannot change our abusers, we cannot change what happened to us, but we can change us, and not harboring bitterness is a great step in the right direction.

This is a really emotive subject and has caused some heated debates in the past, but all we can do is share our journey in the hopes that it will help someone recover on theirs.

(Here I go again, always preaching)

Heal well all
Martin
_________________________
Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

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#414952 - 11/01/12 08:56 AM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Y'know whome, I always respect your posts - granted, I don't always agree with you - because you're anything but a preacher.



Edited by ModTeam (11/01/12 01:35 PM)
Edit Reason: Edited by Modteam

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#414983 - 11/01/12 01:25 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Shyshark Offline


Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 412
Loc: Canada
I had 5 abusers ... 3 of whom I have forgiven ... in my heart and soul if not aloud.
God had nothing to do with it ... he didn't protect me then and has long since lost my respect or any influence in my life.
I chose to forgive the 3 'boys' out of common sense. They were just horny teenagers in a time when the term 'sexual child abuse'
had not even come close to being coined.
They are not a threat to children today, and would never have touched me had they realized the damage they were doing.
The other 2 are dead and in hell, I hope, although I hear they would have a much harder time of it were they in prison ... where I would have had them sent were they still alive.
And so, it is only the harmed who have the right to judge those who have harmed them, so do so carefully ... even among the guilty there are those who are innocent as well.
_________________________
Experience is a brutal teacher.

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#414985 - 11/01/12 02:09 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
unhappycamper Offline


Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 598
Loc: VA
I've already sounded off about my contempt for the very idea of forgiveness in the CSA context. Letting go of the anger is a big enough challenge--I'm still working on it, after 53 years.

John

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#414991 - 11/01/12 04:01 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: whome]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1629
Whome

Well said--I believe the hardest for me is full acceptance of what has happened and the conflicting emotions that I carry--me being repulsed and the child feeling love or a specialness for the abuser. I fear 100% acceptance of the abuse will validate the abuser. But I am making progress. I hope my visit to the church where it occurred this Saturday will help me to accept the abuse so as not effect me at my Mom's funeral this Monday in that church.

My T believes denial can cause us to suppress the emotions and memories, bottling them up, and they are released under emotional and stressful situations. I am on the road to acceptance but have a few obstacles. I have accepted I cannot change what happened or the abuse, but I still need to accept the total me--which is both repulsed by the abuser and feels special to the abuser. This is a step I struggle with and of course it impacts my healing. I have no intention of forgiving my abuser but I am learning I cannot change him or what he did to me.

Kevin


Edited by KMCINVA (11/01/12 04:02 PM)

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#414992 - 11/01/12 04:17 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
WayTooConfused Offline


Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 48
Loc: Florida
For me.
There's no way in hell,
I'd ever forgive my attackers.
The wounds for me are too deep.
Too much was taken from me.
22 years can never be given back or erased.
Sorry, that's how I feel about these guys.
Dealing with the actual abuse is one thing,
forgiveness is something way different.
_________________________
Sick and tired of being Sick and tired.

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#414997 - 11/01/12 04:53 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: WayTooConfused]
unhappycamper Offline


Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 598
Loc: VA
I hear ya, WayToo. "Forgiveness" is an interpersonal relationship, and why would ANY survivor want THAT with a perp? Whether it's a relative, "friend", or a stranger, how could you possibly trust him (or her)? eek

John

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#414999 - 11/01/12 05:01 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1965
Loc: durham, north england
That is a fantastic story mj and I am encouraged by people's thoughts on this. for me however, forgiveness is, and has always been senseless, sinse you can only forgive a person. My major conviction during and after my abuse is that my abusers weren't people. They looked like people, spoke like people, but weren't people. In the same way I was nothing but a casual amusement to make a dull day at school more interesting, they were nothing but a bad, unlucky circumstance, an unnatural desaster.
I don't even remember all of their names.

Do you forgive a pack of wolves for attacking you? even if you are scarred for life you can't "forgive" the wolves sinse they are just animals acting according to their nature.

Same with my own abuse. dignifying my abusers with blaime would make them too human, something which they weren't at the time.

In the same way I am not individually angry with my abusers. I am angry at the circumstance, angry at the teachers who let it happen, but I cannot be angry at any one person or even the group as a hole.

Of course, I know this might be different for others, especially for people who suffered sa in the family or by people they knew, and I do find the stories of forgiveness there quite enspiring.

however for anyone else who suffered abuse at the hands of strangers, this is just to say that forgiveness might not always be as central a theme in recovery as it is for some, much as it is always great to hear about others experiences.

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#415000 - 11/01/12 05:02 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Shyshark Offline


Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 412
Loc: Canada
I'm sorry if I hit some buttons here ... actually, I'm not.
I have the right to deal with my pain however it works for ME!
Forgiving for me cleanses my wounds ... it doesn't heal them, but at least they don't fester and poison me even more.
3 out of 5 ... so don't preach to me about struggle and validation.
And by the way ... I'm 58 and survived what I endured from the ages of 3 and 9 ... so I'm supposed to drag it ALL around until I die ... is that the rationale?
Heal what you can and bear what you can't. 3 not buried and forgotten but dismissed ... no longer able to affect me.
2 left.
If you think it's easier now to drag around only 2 instead of 5
think again !
Forgive me for saying this, but I don't believe in God anymore ... but if he does exist and you go to him in your church for solace ... ask him what you should do?
Check your scriptures ... the answer is there.
He does not ask for perfection ... he asks you to follow in his footsteps ...
I'll take whatever relief I can get, thank you very much.
_________________________
Experience is a brutal teacher.

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#415001 - 11/01/12 05:03 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1629
How about the abuser saying I am sorry and asking for for forgiveness with sincerity? Maybe I would listen but still don't think I would forgive. He screwed me up for so many years--only now am I beginning to truly understand who I am and the scars he left.


Edited by KMCINVA (11/01/12 06:03 PM)

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#415006 - 11/01/12 06:02 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
WriterKeith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 945
Loc: southern California
A topic that sparks lively discussion, for sure. For survivors of sexual assault, the lines overlap and blur between forgiveness, letting go of anger, and suppressing memories.

"Forgiveness" and "comfort" as referenced in Bible scripture are the very words..and scriptures...that empowers many perps in church leadership positions. Religious perps often manipulate their victims by warning and threatening us that we MUST forgive and that Christ is not comforting us because we are filth and we are somehow unworthy of human dignity. My own father who raped and tortured my sister and I used religious guilt and our Christian obligation to forgive as his power to routinely assault us. I have learned it is a common power play that all religious perps use.

We have all encountered survivors who testify that they have forgiven their perps...as they divert their anger toward other survivors (sometimes, right here in forums and in main chat). I recognize it, as I have three siblings who did just that. Ya learn to spot 'em.

The journey to healing seems to be as diverse as each individual, and each person's character, experience, environment, available resources, support system, family dynamic, physical condition, ....the list goes on and on. Treatment is a complex and customized matrix, not a one-size-fits-all T-shirt. This is why I strongly encourage PROFESSIONAL therapy throughout recovery.

I'm not a professional in the field, but I am convinced there is no one treatment or path that cures all. Unfortunately, something that works for one survivor who is excited to share, can be the very same tools that enabled the assault on another survivor.

Still, I believe it is important to discuss and be aware of all resources available, as what is triggering to one may be the single lifeline that saves another.

Early in my journey, I had nothing but my faith to hold to. I had no coping tools, no support system, nowhere and no one to turn to. Had I not had religious belief that somewhere there was a brighter day, I would not have had the courage to complete my life journey.
_________________________
"A burned bridge can be a gift; it prevents us from returning to a place we should have never been."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JfvAPZGjds

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#415009 - 11/01/12 06:27 PM * [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
*


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (04/29/13 12:50 PM)

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#415012 - 11/01/12 06:45 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
A pertinent quote about forgiveness, which I got from Oprah. Not sure I entirely understand it, but it is an interesting thought to meditate on.

"Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past can be changed."

I think it simply translates to acceptance. Acceptance that it happened. And by acceptance, I suppose that translates to no longer being under the power of our own anger and resentment that it happened in the first place.

So, to let go of anger and accept what happened = forgiveness, then I"m all for it. What that ultimately does is liberate us from the past that binds us in shame and anger.

This does NOT mean to let the perpetrator off the hook, and it does NOT mean that we will choose to trust them again. They're still the creepy asswipes that they are. But their actions no longer take ownership and rule my emotions.

That's as much as I understand about that quote.

I will share an experience I had. My genetic father was an abusive asshole. I cut him out of my life 20 years ago.

Last year, I suddenly found myself at a place where I no longer had anger towards him for being an asshole. I didn't feel rage or anything towards him. He was who he was, a dumb shit who didn't have a clue. I started to feel pity for him.

I wrote him a letter and let him know that I forgave him. He died 3 weeks later. He wasn't ill, that I'm aware of. Again, I had no contact with him for 20 years.

Here's the clincher about forgiveness for me. A week after he died, I had sudden and profound insights to my own behaviors, how some of my behaviors had been adopted from him. He installed them in me when I was a child. I suddenly remembered conversations where he was giving me crooked guidance on how to treat other people, and judge them. Dysfunctional parts of my psyche suddenly made themselves known to me, and I felt this weird sensation like these dysfunctions were being lifted out. Like a psychic splinter was removed.

A measure of healing happened in an instant, and I felt relief. I absolutely know that if I had not gotten to that place of forgiveness, I would have never been granted that healing experience.

My final word; "On the other side of forgiveness, is Grace."

Anne Lamott is quoted to have said “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”

Absolutely.

D
_________________________
It's a heroes journey, and you are the hero.

Loving Kindness Meditation will dramatically improve your spirits; give it a try for just 3 days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM

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#415015 - 11/01/12 07:27 PM * [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
*


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (04/29/13 12:50 PM)

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#415016 - 11/01/12 07:29 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
Totally agreed. No one should feel forced to forgive, or manipulated into it. Forgiveness comes of its own through personal growth.

D
_________________________
It's a heroes journey, and you are the hero.

Loving Kindness Meditation will dramatically improve your spirits; give it a try for just 3 days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM

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#415025 - 11/01/12 09:11 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
WriterKeith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 945
Loc: southern California
I appreciate your comment, Gary. It strikes a chord with my situation, where my father/perp has no remorse, no conscience, and even finds it humorous that I suffer lifelong symptoms from the assaults. He boasts that he is forgiven by God and I am the one bound for hell if I tell anyone what he did to me and my sister or if I don't continue to be his dehumanized servant.

As an adult I lived out the religious obligations to be his doormat until 7 years ago when I could take no more. In retaliation he unleashed the most vile campaign against me, filing a false claim with the police, slandering me, and persuading my angry-crazy middle aged brother (another of his child victims who turned in angry in adulthood) to seek me out and assault me 3 years ago.

Both my father and brother are born-again Christians who attend church regularly and claim to have clear consciences about their assaults on me and other family members. Because I gathered the courage to remove myself from their abusive company, they claim I have an unforgiving spirit. Truth is, I don't feel anything but pity for them.

One can only imagine the reaction in my brain when some good-intentioned but uninformed friend or relative lays on the cliches about forgiveness. It's absolutely maddening and triggering beyond belief. It's thinly disguised shame and judgement, and it aligns that person in agreement with my father-perpetrator.
_________________________
"A burned bridge can be a gift; it prevents us from returning to a place we should have never been."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JfvAPZGjds

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#415114 - 11/02/12 04:51 PM * [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
*


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (04/29/13 12:51 PM)

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#415116 - 11/02/12 05:03 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Jwmcd2 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 62
Don't forgive people that haven't asked for forgiveness. That's my opinion.

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#415139 - 11/02/12 07:04 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Blue1966 Offline


Registered: 10/08/12
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
First I don't care if I do push buttons here.

As far as I;m concerned you can take that "forgive them" crud to the hills. I will never forgive a single one of them. I'm not angry at them or what they did, that's over, past and I've got to make the best life I can with what they left of me to work with.

All in all I learned a lot of things I would not have learned were I not abused, i can cope with the stresses and rough times in life better than most and, I would not have met half of the amazing people I have had I not been a survivor.

I would never have had the opportunity to help or support other survivors, and I wouldn't be who I am today. I'm glad I'm me and, it's okay that abuse was part of what made me who I am. I don't need to forgive them to accept myself.

As for God, yeah I believe in a God but not the one portrayed in the Christian Bible as it is today. Probably because I know the truth behind the propaganda machine that churches are but, here is not the place for that debate.

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#415141 - 11/02/12 07:27 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Wow. Two excellent points. Jwmcd2 mentions one I'd somehow forgotten. I mean, what is the big friggin' deal about making an apology? Is it gonna kill you? Or are you too good to make one? Either way, that's not the kind of person I want to be around. Frankly, I toss those kinds aside and they usually don't even notice.

Blue, for me, hits the nail on the head. For me, the whole la-te-da (gawd, did I really say that?) forgiveness crap is to sell books and make sheeple.

Closest I've come, and likely ever will, is that I understand the dynamics at work so I could understand my place in it. But those people are dead to me because I can devote my limited resources to someone more important.

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#454210 - 11/18/13 06:34 AM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: Shyshark]
une.vie.d.espoir Offline


Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 106
Loc: Quebec-Canada
I would like to share something. I never got angry since i was abuse 55 years ago. I was a soft heart boy and took all the anger deep in my heart and on my shoulders. Life introduce me to a therapist and he made me work on my anger. Now today i know that anger is good to be use, its only to say i have limits and want to stand by them.

I like crying under the rain, because no one knows I hurt.

Jp

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#454341 - 11/18/13 06:26 PM Re: Forgiving Your Abuser??? [Re: M. J. Stewart]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3333
Loc: O Kanada
i have already dealt with this forgiveness issue in my own life.
you can read about it here.
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthr...2551#Post432551

for me,
to forgive does NOT mean
to forget, pardon, condone, accept, permit, or excuse the abuse.
to forgive does NOT mean
the abuser escapes judgement or consequences or punishment for his crimes and sins.

to me, forgiveness means i no longer hate the abuser.

if permanent removal of the abuser is required to prevent further abuse, to protect children,
then those actions must be taken, but they should be done without malice or vengeance to avoid corruption of one's own soul.

"You can't hold a man down without staying down with him."
- Booker T. Washington
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
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