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Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger's Talk on Rape Surrounds Their Own Experiences

 - Feb 15, 2017
References: ted & youtube
In their talk on rape, Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger discuss the issues they both faced when they came to realize they had been part of a sexual assault.

They start out by explaining how they met back in 1996, when they were two teenagers who quickly fell in love. One night during a party, Elva drank until she was no longer coherent -- something that happened very suddenly for her 16-year-old self. Stranger took her home that night and violated her, however due to the circumstances and the lack of conversation surrounding the issue, they were both unsure of what exactly had happened.

Shortly after Elva's assault, the two separated as Stranger finished his exchange program and went home to Australia, but in the years that passed, they both accumulated a sense of shame that damaged them in many ways. Eventually, Elva decided to write a letter to Stranger, to communicate the hurt he had done to her so that she could heal in some way. To her surprise, he returned a letter and they decided to meet to discuss their past. For one week, they sought to understand the shame felt by one another. In doing so, Elva was able to heal by finding a way to forgive Stranger, by understanding his humanity and empowering herself at the same time.

Throughout their talk on rape, Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger explore the supreme power of words and the benefits of carrying this difficult discussion forward. Although the two make it clear that their decision to meet is certainly not right or possible for all victims, they show the importance of speaking out when one has the ability to do so. In addition, they show the need to stop treating sexual violence as a women's issue only, as men are the largest perpetrators or it.