In the wake of the attack, Scott Jones launched the Don't Be Afraid campaign against homophobia (Image: Facebook)
Last fall, Shane Edward Matheson stabbed Scott Jones in the back and throat, severing his spinal cord and leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. But at Matheson's sentencing hearing yesterday at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the 28-year-old Jones delivered a courageous message to his attacker as part of his victim impact statement:
Shane, nothing can justify what you've done to me, but I forgive you for what you have done.
The attack took place outside a club in New Glasgow, N.S. on October 12, 2013. Jones has said he believes he was targeted because he's gay, although police haven't called it a hate crime. Matheson's grandmother, Karen MacDougall, told CBC News, "if he had made a pass at Shane or something, Shane would flip right out."
In his statement in court yesterday, Matheson publicly apologized to Jones for the attack. "I'm sorry I put you in that chair. I don't know why I did it. I'm sorry." The 20-year-old Mattheson, who pleaded guilty in March, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with 365 days credit for time served.
After the sentencing hearing, Jones spoke to the Halifax Chronicle Herald:
Jones's attack led to an outpouring from across Canada, and nearly $200,000 have been raised to support him. The overwhelming response eventually led to an anti-homophobia initiative called Don't Be Afraid. In a New Year's note posted on his website, Jones described the project:
It is an awareness campaign that aims to dissolve the fear that surrounds homophobia and promote a deeper level of acceptance. I am mentioning it to you because this campaign was an integral part of my recovery, and it continues to motivate me to face my own fears in this new chapter of life.
To see all sorts of positive messages from people who've reached out to Jones since the attack, head over to the Don't Be Afraid Facebook Page.
Via CBC News