Beverly Johnson says she forgives Bill Cosby for allegedly assaulting her

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Beverly Johnson is the first of over 40 women who have come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault to also come forward publicly to forgive him.

On Wednesday, Johnson was asked during an interview with Good Morning America if she had anything to say to the once esteemed comedian, and she responded, “I forgive you.”

Although Johnson is the first to come out with this message of forgiveness, she still stands by the claims made by herself and all the other women and hopes that this case, because of its national media attention, will lead to a productive national discussion about sexual assault and rape culture.

“I’m going to leave that to the justice department,” Johnson said. “I just feel that he’s a lighting rod for a much bigger conversation and that conversation would be the rape culture in America.”

Johnson has been open about how being in the national spotlight on such a prominent case has changed her life as well as her views.

“It’s changed my life in the way of how I feel about violence on woman, about what I can do,” she told PEOPLE earlier this year. “This has given me a different purpose in life. It totally changed my life. It will forever be part of who I am.”