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Woman writes a book with her rapist about forgiving him

(103 Posts)
DeviTheGaelet Fri 10-Feb-17 10:47:16

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/woman-writes-book-teen-sweetheart-9779992

What do you think about this?
I'm horrified that he seems to think it's enough for a rapist to just admit he did it (years after the fact). I think he should be prosecuted.
I've read other views suggesting it's societies fault that men don't realise this kind of scenario is rape and that those men aren't necessarily bad people.
Just wondering what people on here thought

DeviTheGaelet Fri 10-Feb-17 10:47:25

www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/woman-writes-book-teen-sweetheart-9779992

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 10-Feb-17 10:55:37

I do think he should have been prosecuted for the crime, after admitting it. I also wonder if a 16 year old is considered a child in Iceland.

This man should have a criminal conviction on his record, no matter what else he does to address his culpability.

YetAnotherSpartacus Fri 10-Feb-17 11:23:08

Food for thought. Current thinking is

- has she really forgiven him or has she felt pressured?
- I'd have to know a lot more about how rape is understood in Iceland, how women's rights are understood and whether the youth justice system is geared towards restorative justice / forgiveness (which might colour her thinking).
- my jury is out on the rights and wrongs of restorative justice v. punitive justice, but I do think the concept has some merit.
- I'm worried the case may prompt other women to think they should 'forgive' and other men to think they should be 'forgiven'.

VestalVirgin Fri 10-Feb-17 13:54:37

I've read other views suggesting it's societies fault that men don't realise this kind of scenario is rape and that those men aren't necessarily bad people.

Nonsense. Sure, men might not realise that it is considered rape by law (i.e. that other men would disapprove of them) but they sure as hell know that they harm their victim massively.

I do not have a high opinion of people who have no empathy or morals and think they are entitled to harming others as long as the law allows it.

Admittedly, I do not have the stomach to read this article right now, but I am quite sure this was not the kind of nonconsensual sex where a woman offers to have sex she doesn't want because she thinks it is expected. As if it was that, no one would think the man needs to be forgiven, even.

So, must be circumstances where he knew he was harming her. And that's that.

Iceland is, for all I know, a relatively progressive country. Which means that yes, the man knew very well indeed what he was doing, and the justice system is quite likely focused on forgiveness.

YetAnotherSpartacus Fri 10-Feb-17 14:21:33

He wasn't Icelandic. She was ...

VestalVirgin Fri 10-Feb-17 14:55:48

Where was he from? (Sorry; I will try to read the article later but it sounds to be something that has potential to make me feel sick.)

Not that him being from, well, anywhere would be an excuse, but Iceland is very far away from pretty much everywhere else, so I wonder how they could have been "teen sweethearts" if he was from elsewhere and didn't spend a big portion of his childhood in Iceland?

But, yeah.

There's backwards countries where women are expected to blame themselves for rape, or not consider it rape at all; and then there's countries that are progressive enough to acknowledge that rape is a crime, but whose law systems are very big on reforming criminals and giving them second chances and forgiveness.

Both shit for women.

The focus on forgiveness is all nice and good for countries that have equality (if there are any) but for any oppressed group, it just does not work.
Forgiveness only begets gratitude if you had the power to have the criminal punished in the first place.

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 10-Feb-17 15:06:51

He was from Australia and was there for a short while on some kind of placement or exchange I think.

DeviTheGaelet Fri 10-Feb-17 16:49:02

Ok I've been googling, she was 16, he was 19. She was drunk and he "chivalrously walked her home".
Seems like he took major advantage precisely to rape her. And now he's getting pats on the head for speaking out. What a wanksock.
Here's an interview with him being a smug shit
www.google.co.uk/amp/blog.ted.com/a-qa-with-thordis-elva-and-tom-stranger/amp/

venusinscorpio Fri 10-Feb-17 19:40:01

It may be "erroneous to address sexual violence as solely a women's issue" as he proclaims but it's certainly the case that sexual violence is an issue which affects women far more than men.

Sanctimonious arsehole.

geekaMaxima Fri 10-Feb-17 19:54:30

I'm familiar with this story. Thordis (the woman) is a fairly well-known writer and campaigner against sexual violence in Iceland.

She seems to be the driving force behind this project. She found and made contact with him 9 years after the rape, she suggested they meet some years later, and she proposed they collaborate on the book. Their stated intention of the book and TED talk is to put rape in the spotlight so that the shame and blame are moved from the woman to where it belongs: 100% on the man who chose to be a rapist.

I'm not sure how I feel about Tom Stranger's involvement, tbh. He takes full blame for his actions as selfish and horrendous, and describes how he spent years trying to minimise to himself what he had done. It's interesting to hear a man own up like this - it's the exact opposite of the Brock Turner denialists of the world - so perhaps it's good to have the example in the public domain. IDK.

I'd probably be more comfortable with his involvement if I knew he wasn't making money out of the project. (Ive no idea whether he is or not).

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 10-Feb-17 20:02:45

But he hasn't taken full blame because he hasn't accepted the penalty for rape in Iceland, as far as I can tell?

venusinscorpio Fri 10-Feb-17 20:07:29

I'd be much more impressed if he went and handed himself in to a police station and made a formal confession.

VestalVirgin Fri 10-Feb-17 20:14:18

I'd be much more impressed if he went and handed himself in to a police station and made a formal confession.

Me, too. Talking is cheap.

Sexual violence is almost exclusively a male issue, meaning that it is done by males.
But I don't think that was what he meant?

RaisinsAndApple Fri 10-Feb-17 20:16:58

Thordis says that if she had read the book it would have helped her teenage self not to shoulder the blame - if it does that for any other victim then it will have been worth it.

He doesn't appear to be minimising his actions. I guess it's up to Thordis if she wants/ed to make a complaint to the Icelandic police.
I guess it's ultimately up to her if she wants to forgive him since it is her experience and hurt.
If he's genuinely seen the error of his ways then it may not be in the public interest to prosecute him (using framework of British justice since I know nothing of Icelandic law)

The thing is, the trouble is, it shouldn't take the man owning up and confronting his actions to transfer the blame from her to him. The perpetrator should not have that power. Obv that's a wider societal issue and one of patriarchy and sexism.

VestalVirgin Fri 10-Feb-17 20:25:13

The thing is, the trouble is, it shouldn't take the man owning up and confronting his actions to transfer the blame from her to him. The perpetrator should not have that power.

Indeed. Perhaps her publicly forgiving him will draw attention to the fact that he did wrong her in the first place.

I can only hope that was the idea behind it; as that would be a rather sensible idea. Though I am not sure if it is a good one. It all depends on what the attitudes are and whether this is actually an improvement (= rape is considered a crime) or makes things worse (= men expect to be forgiven for raping)

geekaMaxima Fri 10-Feb-17 20:29:22

I don't think there's been a criminal investigation, no. It's not clear. I've no idea what Icelandic law is regarding statute of limitations, etc.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Fri 17-Feb-17 12:59:46

I came on here to see if there was a thread on this after watching their TED talk. I'm not really sure how I feel about it. It is absolutely her right to respond to her rape - and indeed her rapist - in whatever way she chooses and I admire her courage in speaking out. But I can't really get my head around how I feel about his role in all of this. Does he somehow now present as a "good guy" for acknowledging what he did so frankly and publicly? But would he have done so if he had feared prosecution? - is he just doing this because it is "safe"?

The talk is interesting, if you can bring yourself to watch it - here I think though, it is part of the reason I am struggling with this - it sounds so rehearsed, as if he worked out the "right" things to say - but then it would be rehearsed, I guess.

Sorry, I'm rambling. confused

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Fri 17-Feb-17 13:02:39

OK - reading that link Devi posted of the interview with them both hasn't made me any more comfortable with him. Those are not the words of a man speaking from the heart, from a deeply-felt place of contrition - are they?

RaisinsAndApple Fri 17-Feb-17 15:20:11

The talk is rehearsed, they talked about rehearsing it extensively in the interview I read. I thought it was quite odd how much they talked about rehearsing it frankly. I did feel like he would rather talk about that than the actual subject matter.

geekaMaxima Fri 17-Feb-17 17:39:37

All TED talks are all rehearsed, memorised speeches, though. Organisers want to (insist on?) seeing written drafts months in advance. A good actor can make it look spontaneous, I suppose.

Yoshimihere Sat 18-Feb-17 17:53:04

I've just watched the TED talk and don't know what to think. Of course it is her right to choose to forgive or find peace but I feel uncomfortable about that from his perspective as part of the conversation around sexual violence.

But I've soften felt uneasy about forgiveness when I've read of other traumatic restorative justice examples. Sometimes it feels like a way to cope, to move on. That people deny the reality of their emotions.

There is so much that needs to be spoken about around rape - his messages did not feel strong. I felt really irked when he talked about transferring blame, the blame was aways his and that message should stand independent of his/any rapists's self discovery journey.

I feel uncomfortable about what message is in the book for the teenage victims Thordis hopes to reach.

meringue33 Sat 11-Mar-17 19:53:30

I am halfway through the book and came on here to see if anyone else was reading it. The full story is a lot messier than what has been summarised in interviews/ articles.

I am equally intrigued and repelled by what I am reading. Not finished it yet. I can't quite believe that this was a one-off crime and he has never, as he claims, done anything similar to anyone else.

anonymice Sat 11-Mar-17 19:56:52

He can't be prosecuted now. The crime happened too long ago apparently.

IAmAmy Sat 11-Mar-17 22:12:44

No woman should ever feel pressured into forgiving her rapist, nor any woman feel she should forgive what men do to us.

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