From Iceland — Explanation Demanded of Sex Assault Department Chief UPDATED

Explanation Demanded of Sex Assault Department Chief UPDATED

Published August 17, 2010

Björgvin Björgvinsson, chief of the police’s sex crimes division, said in an interview with the newspaper DV that victims of sexual assault are often under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and thus should “bear some responsibility” for being raped. This comment has sparked outrage ranging from feminist groups to the Minister of Justice. He has since been removed from his post.
Guðrún Jónsdóttir, spokesperson for the sexual assault crisis center Stígamót, told Vísir that they sincerely hope Björgvin was misquoted, because if not, they would have to immediately express their lack of trust in him. “It is against the law to rape a woman, regardless of what condition she’s in,” she added. “Behind every rape there is at least one rapist, and Björgvin says that women have themselves to blame if they are raped while drunk. With this, he is indirectly contending the innocence of the rapist who rapes a woman in another state of mind.”
Halla Gunnarsdóttir, spokesperson for the Feminist Society of Iceland, was more direct, saying that if this is what Björgvin actually believes, then “he is unfit for the job”.
Minister of Justice Ragna Árnadóttir told reporters that it was “out of the question” that victims of rape bear any responsibility for what happened to them, and has asked chief of Reykjavík police Stefán Eiríksson to have Björgvin explain himself.
Thus far, no explanation has come forth. Grapevine will keep you posted when or if it does.
UPDATE: The Reykjavík police announced earlier today that Björgvin has now been removed from his position, to be staffed elsewhere in the department. In a statement to the press, they added furthermore that they regret the statements Björgvin made to DV, as it damages the credibility of sex crime investigation, accompanied by an apology to all offended parties.

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