Keep Rapist Tom Strange Away from Bristol

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On the 13th of March, the Bristol Festival of Ideas is going to host an event called Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger, South of Forgiveness.
I am requesting the cancellation of this event. 
Many years ago, Stranger raped his then-girlfriend Elva. After the rape they both went separate ways, but reunited (not as a couple) and decided to write a book about forgiveness (on her part) and reconciliation.
I am requesting the cancellation of this event for the following reasons:

  • I find the idea of giving this rapist a speaking platform obscene. He is a criminal, after all
  • I think it shows total lack of consideration towards victims of sexual abuse, and can bring painful triggers
  • In the context in which we live, many rapes go unreported, and according to statistics, in England and Wales only 5.7% of those which are reported result in a conviction. The narrative of forgiving a rapist will further discourage reporting of rapes and will put additional suffering and burden on the victim. 

We women live in a culture of rape; not only rapes are prevalent and victims often are blamed, but that now even rapists are enabled to walk free and go on book tours. In this context, I think that the Festival of Ideas event is complicit with rape culture; it is part of the problem, and this role is inexcusable. I am requesting that this event, happening right after Women's International Day be cancelled. 

I will collect the signatures and are obtained and forward to Ms Zoe Steadman-Milne, Project Manager at the Bristol Festival of Ideas. I will also send them to Andrew Kelly, Director of the Bristol Festival of Ideas.



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