Woman Confronts Her Rapist in Powerful Courtroom Video
09/26/2014 AT 12:30 PM EDT
Speaking calmly but emotionally, Piper told Gilbert Lozano Trejo exactly what his brutality had cost her and how she is trying to overcome the trauma, for both of their sakes.
"You forcibly raped me while continually punching me in the face over and over again," she told him, as seen in a video posted to CBSLA.com. "This was such a horrible thing that you did to my life, and I want it to turn into something better, something strong, something good."
Trejo, who was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for the crime, which went unsolved for years, said little at the hearing, acknowledging he had committed the crime but saying he had no memory of it because of a brain injury.
Piper, who said she wanted to speak out in the hope that other rape victims might do the same and not feel ashamed, thanked Trejo for admitting his guilt – and even said she forgave him.
"I'm acknowledging you did all these horrible things to me. But I forgive you for it. I've got to forgive you, okay?" she said. "Please do something good with your next 20 years, okay? Please."