This week I have been thinking about forgiveness. I was inspired after listening to the TED Radio Hour episode on forgiveness. I was particularly moved by the TED Talk by Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger titled "Our Story of Rape and Reconciliation." Thordis and Tom talked about their shared experience as the perpetrator and survivor of rape. Thordis was 16 years old when her then boyfriend, Tom, raped her. He was an exchange student from Australia and he left for home shortly after the incident without recognizing what he had done. After 9 years, Thordis decided that she wanted to confront Tom and to find forgiveness. She said so powerfully in this talk, "But deep down I realized that this was my way out of my suffering. Because regardless of whether or not he deserved my forgiveness, I deserved peace. My era of shame was over." They talked over email and then met in person to work on reconciliation and forgiveness. Tom acknowledged then took up the responsibility and blame for his actions. They co-wrote a book about their experiences: South of Forgiveness: A True Story of Rape and Responsibility. The Dear Sugar Radio podcast titled "Dear Dad, It's Over" also touched upon forgiveness of hurtful relationship with parents.
"Because regardless of whether or not he deserved my forgiveness, I deserved peace."
Confession: I don't know much about men. I thought I did. After all, I grew up with them, I learned from them, I work with them, I care about and love them. But when I reflected on my understanding of men and masculinity, I have to admit that I know very little about them. Why do men struggle with expressing emotions? Why don't men talk to each other about their struggles and vulnerabilities? Why are men more aggressive than women? Do men have different needs in relationships than women? Why do men have a hard time acknowledging their power and privileges? Why do men shy away from talking about sexual harassment and sexual assault? In sum, why can't men be more like women?
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