Category Archives: Self-Care

Rape and Reconciliation: Part 1

Rape and Reconciliation: Part 1

Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger presented at a Ted conference together and had a heartfelt and courageous narrative of their journey to reconciliation around rape.  This journey began when they were 16 and 18 years old, with a high school romance and changed after one horrific evening.

After one much anticipated evening with her trusted boyfriend at the Christmas dance, Thordis made a choice to try rum for the first time and got very sick. Her trusted boyfriend took her back to her home to take care of her. However, he proceeded to get on top of her and rape her. She limped for days and cried for weeks. By the time she could label what had happened to her as rape, Tom had completed his exchange program and gone back to Australia. Therefore, shame began to engulf her.

The dictionary defines rape as an unlawful sexual penetration with or without force and without the consent of the victim.

Thordis described being confused about the rape because it went against society standards — it was not in a seedy, dark ally, and it was with her boyfriend. She described believing the message that society had given her about rape. It placed the blame of rape on a woman’s choices. Maybe her skirt was too short, maybe she drank too much alcohol, etc…

In Iceland at the time, having sex with someone that was not able to give consent was not considered rape. Feminist theory suggests that rape occurs as a mechanism for social control in patriarchal societies. It also suggests that rape occurs at a higher rate in societies where women are viewed from a primarily sexual and reproductive viewpoint and are possessions of men.

While Thordis was suffering, Tom refused to see his actions as rape. He stuffed it far down and returned to a sense of normalcy. He repudiated the entire act during and after by convincing himself that it was sex and not rape. As he grew up, he suppressed this dark deed by convincing himself he was a good person; he was a good friend, a loved brother, and son, a social science student, and a youth worker.

Nine years after the event, Thordis was consumed with misplaced hatred and anger that she took out on herself. She wore a heavy mask that didn’t allow people to see the pain she felt. This led to the courageous act of her confronting her perpetrator with a letter of the rape account. She had determined that she wanted to find forgiveness and this was the way to find peace. She realized that forgiveness, whether he deserved it or not, was her way out of her suffering and towards peace.

Thordis had come to the realization that the only thing that could have stopped her from being raped was Tom stopping himself.

In part 2 of this blog series, we will explore the courage that it took for Thordis to forgive Tom and let go of the shame that trapped her. Not only was Thordis courageous, but Tom also demonstrated bravery to take responsibility for his actions and understand the impacts that it had on her.

Written By: Chelsey Beauchamp, MS

 

Awareness in Business With a Diary

Awareness in Business With a Diary

Is keeping a diary really good for business? According to the Harvard Business Review, the answer appears to be yes. Awareness can equal productivity in business. According to a recent study, workers felt increased levels of focus, patience, planning, and personal growth as a result of being asked to keep a daily diary while working on…

Grief That Doesn’t Fit In: Part 2

Grief That Doesn’t Fit In: Part 2

In part 1 of this series, we took a look at disenfranchised grief. Disenfranchised grief is the category that covers grief that doesn’t have a socially accepted place to be recognized or expressed. Basically, it is the “ugly duckling” grief that people feel they have to hide because others won’t understand it, will dismiss it…

Motivation Through the End of the Year

Motivation Through the End of the Year

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, you and your kids may start to look forward to summer and lose motivation to keep focused on schoolwork and the routine of day-to-day life. Here are a few tips to get your family through the home stretch! Make time to blow off steam. The…

Grief That Doesn’t Fit In: Part 1

Grief That Doesn’t Fit In: Part 1

There are tons of books, podcasts, shows, and blogs that address the topic of grief. Everyone experiences grief at some point in their life. It is the emotion that results when something or someone important to you is no longer in your life. Mourning is what happens when grief goes public. It’s the process that…

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