One ordinary spring morning in Reykjavik, Iceland, Thordis Elva kisses her son and partner goodbye before boarding a plane to do a remarkable thing: fly seven thousand miles to South Africa to confront the man who raped her when she was just sixteen. Meanwhile, in Sydney, Australia, Tom Stranger nervously embarks on an equally life-changing journey to meet Thordis, wondering whether he is worthy of this milestone.
After exchanging hundreds of searingly honest emails over eight years, Thordis and Tom decided it was time to speak face to face. Coming from opposite sides of the globe, they meet in the middle, in Cape Town, South Africa, a country that is no stranger to violence and the healing power of forgiveness.
South of Forgiveness is an unprecedented collaboration between a survivor and a perpetrator, each equally committed to exploring the darkest moment of their lives. It is a true story about being bent but not broken, facing fear with courage, and finding hope even in the most wounded of places. Personable, accessible, and compelling, South of Forgiveness is an intense and refreshing look at a gendered violence, rape culture, personal responsibility, and the effect that patriarchal cultures have on both men and women.
About the Authors:
Thordis Elva is known to Icelanders as a writer, journalist, public speaker and Woman of the Year 2015. Her book about gender-based violence, Á mannamáli (The Plain Truth) was one of the most awarded Icelandic books of 2009. Together with Tom Strager, she held a TEDWomen’s talk in San Franscisco that has over a millions views online. She currently resides in Stockholm, Sweden with her partner Vidir and their son.
Outdoor recreation has been both a professional direction and personal theme for Tom Stranger. He enjoys numerous outdoor activities that allow for an uncompetitive but visceral interaction with the natural world. After a history of working in outdoor recreation his focus shifted towards working with young people with complex needs-drug and alcohol rehabilitation, homelessness, neurological impairment and mental health challenges. Building upon his BA of Social Science, Tom has recently completed and thoroughly enjoyed a Master of Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. His personal history, professional experiences working in Community Services, and tertiary studies, have seen his interests narrow upon the heightened public discourse surrounding gender based violence. He’s currently working as a landscape gardener and residing by the harbor waters of Sydney with his dear wife Cat.