Two Boston College students who were attacked with acid at Marseille's train station in France have forgiven their assailant and said they are praying Jesus will heal the woman of her mental illness.
In a Facebook post following the attack, Courtney Siverling wrote: "Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out to see if I'm ok and/or has been praying for us. I did not receive any injuries from the attack in Marseille this morning and we are all safe. The French police and the U.S. Consulate have been wonderful and we are so thankful for that."
She added, "I pray that the attacker would be healed from her mental illness in the name of Jesus and receive the forgiveness and salvation that can only come from Him. 'This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.' Psalm 91:2."
Another victim, Michelle Krug, took to Facebook to note the women were "doing okay," and said the attacker "threw a weak solution of hydrochloric acid at us." She also wrote that people should consider praying for their attacker because "Mental illness is not a choice and should not be villainized."
Krug and Siverling, along with other Americans Charlotte Kaufman and Kelsey Kosten, were hospitalized after a 41-year-old woman attacked them with acid. Two of the women were burned, and the other two appeared to have escaped injury, but they were in a state of shock, according to police. All four were treated at a hospital on Sunday and released later that day.
The New York Times reports that the attacker was quickly arrested in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille. The suspect has "a psychiatric history," a spokeswoman for the police prefecture in Marseille said. "For now, nothing suggests that this was a terrorist attack."
Boston College said in a statement on Sunday that the four women were juniors at the college and were enrolled in study-abroad programs.
"We are very proud of our students and the gracious manner in which they have handled themselves throughout this ordeal," said University Spokesman Jack Dunn. "The BC community is here to provide whatever support and assistance they need."
ABC News notes that corrosive substances are increasingly being used as weapons in Europe, as acid-based products are easy to purchase. Toxic substances, including drain cleaner, are "used as weapons more frequently partly as a result of a crackdown on guns and knives overseas in recent years," according to the outlet.
Assaults involving corrosive substances have more than doubled in England since 2012, according to police data obtained by the British Broadcasting Company.
Simon Harding, a criminologist and expert on gangs at London's Middlesex University, told the BBC that acid is becoming "a weapon of first choice."
"Acid throwing is a way of showing dominance, power and control ... building enormous fear among gang peer groups," he said.