Documentary showing: ‘South of Forgiveness’

Prevention and education coordinator hosts TED talk showing to wrap-up sexual assault awareness month events


On April 26, the TED talk on South of Forgiveness was played to wrap-up the sexual assault awareness month events. This event was hosted by Harrison Chapman, the prevention and education coordinator in the Dean of Students office. Chapman helped organize the sexual assault awareness month calendar and wanted it to be an outreach to those looking for someone to talk to.

“We wanted to raise awareness on campus and support students who need help or who want to help,” Chapman said.

The TED talk that was shown had both Thordis Elva, a young woman from Iceland and Tom Strange, a young man from Australia. It covered both sides of their stories on how they worked through the issues of the event and how they worked on coming to peace with what had happened.

The talk was how Elva, the girl who had been raped when she was only 16, was going to meet her perpetrator, Strange, to find out why the rape happened and to make peace with the situation. For the talk, Elva and Strange were standing side-by-side with a table in between them and they were going back and forth telling the story as they each experienced it.

“I wanted to find forgiveness,” Elva said.

They also talked about forgiveness and healing and how those two things can be done in many ways. They both talked about how writing to each other and meeting face to face was their specific way of healing but everyone has their own way to heal.

Strange talked about the power of giving terms names and stigmas, like victim and perpetrator. He gave his side of the story and with it, he talked about how much it ate away at him to know what he did.

“With the privilege of having a voice comes the responsibility of using it,” Elva said.

She wanted people to know that it is all right to tell your story and have your voice heard. Elva wants sexual assault to stop being treated as a woman’s issue and make it a universal issue that needs to be talked about.

According to Chapman, knowledge is power on a college campus,.The more up to date and educated people are, the more support and engagement they can give. Chapman would like to see more involvement and increased knowledge from the student body so that they can support others as well as get the support they need.

If you or someone you know is looking for a place to talk about sexual assault, or any other issue happening, contact counseling services for an appointment at 608-342-1891, or Family Advocates, in Platteville, at 608-348-5995. Both services are confidential and supportive.