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South of Forgiveness

A True Story of Rape and Responsibility
Narrated by: Tom Bromhead, Tavia Gilbert
Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Summary

One ordinary spring morning in Reykjavik, Iceland, Thordis Elva kisses her son and partner good-bye before boarding a plane to do a remarkable thing: fly 7,000 miles to South Africa to confront the man who raped her when she was just 16. 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 gendered violence, rape culture, personal responsibility, and the effect that patriarchal cultures have on both men and women.

Contains mature themes.

©2017 Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger (P)2017 Tantor

Critic reviews

“The essence of their cause: removing the burden and shame of rape and sexual violence from victim's shoulders and placing it squarely onto the shoulders of those who commit it the most.” ( The Huffington Post)

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Awful accents

Awful accents - Thordis comes across extremely unlikable so the message is lost within this. Probably better to go to the Ted talk their more known for and save your money/credit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very moving and inspiring

This book is one of the best books I've ever read about rape, and I'm speaking from the viewpoint of a survivor. I admire how Tom and Thordis had the courage to face their past, and how detailled they describe the whole way they went together. They show us a way forward, to living wholeheartedly without denying the past, and without holding on to anger.

The narrators are both good, but I really didn't like the voice of Tom by the female narrator. In the beginning, I almost stopped listening because of the weird voice and accent, but I'm glad that I didn't. After a while, I almost got used to it.

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  • Regina
  • 19-06-18

Important, uplifting and cutting edge story about rape

Just finished this intense account of forgiveness for a rape that one character committed to the other decades earlier. Obviously this book examines a disturbing real-life episode, so anyone who struggles with this type of content should exercise caution when choosing if they will read this book.

I believe Thordis’ conviction that confronting, understanding and forgiving sexual assault is spot on, yet as I was reading I kept wondering “Who do I know that could handle this message?” Through hearing her rapist’s story, you better understand how sexual assault against women is so normalized, that even a generally thoughtful person such as Tom, could commit rape to his girlfriend.

Don’t worry! The authors DO NOT SUGGEST THAT RAPISTS BE ABSOLVED FROM BLAME, but they do demonstrate a real life example of how taking the time to understand sexual assault can be both healing and preventative.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Janelle
  • 07-08-18

Good Story from Multiple Perspectives

This is a good story about healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and accountability for bad actions. This is the first time I've heard a collaboration from a victim and an offender. I'd like to hear more in the future and this was a good start.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bonnie O'Melia
  • 16-06-19

Truly healing

As an incest survivor reading this was profoundly healing on many levels... It is an entertaining read, which I didn’t expect and another reason it strikes the heart first with a pin prick and then an explosion of loving forgiveness and understanding. Mahalo Thordis and Tom, you walked through the fire to reach the mountain of forgiveness, then battered and broken you climbed that mountain together till you reached its peak!! I hold so much respect for you and your journey. These lessons are PRICELESS, as are each of you😘🙏⚡️🙌