People are trying to stop this rapist from speaking at a festival of female empowerment


International Women's Day is approaching, on 8 March.

The Southbank Centre is doing Women’s day with its annual Women of the World festival.

The week will be filled with lectures, film screenings, seminars and panels encompassing a variety of subjects.

One planned talk has been the subject of some outrage.

Thordis Elva is the survivor of rape, and her controversial Ted talk – in which she shares the stage with her rapist – received much attention.

The South Bank decided to host both Elva and the perpetrator for a discussion at the Royal Festival Hall, titled South of Forgiveness.

Thordis was 16 when she was attacked and raped by her boyfriend at the time, Tom Strange.

Tom did not see his actions – having sex with her against her will – as rape, at least not at first.

It is important to now state that I didn't see my deed for what it was.

The word 'rape' didn't echo around my mind as it should've, and I wasn't crucifying myself with memories of the night before.

I disavowed the truth by convincing myself it was sex and not rape.

And this is a lie I've felt spine-bending guilt for.

He was forgiven - though not convicted of a crime - and 16 years later Thordis invited him to talk about what happened to an audience.

Despite the fact that Thordis is willing to speak with him and give him a platform to do the same, some people think he shouldn't have one.

A petition was set up on, compelling the centre to reconsider hosting the event “in its current format” and to adopt a “no - platforming policy for perpetrators of violence against women”.

The campaign has over 2,000 signatories, just a few hundred off the 2,500 target.

The Southbank Centre did not immediately return a request for comment.

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