A new report indicates that up to 15% of women in Iceland could be currently in an abusive relationship.
Erla Kolbrún Svavarsdóttir, a professor of the nursing department at the University of Iceland, is also the editor of a new book entitled “Violence: Multiple Appearances”. In an interview with Fréttablaðið, Erla says the book is based on four research papers that interviewed about 3,000 women across the country.
One of the things that she said surprised her the most was how many women who have visited hospital emergency rooms have experienced sexual violence – 20% of all female visitors to the emergency room have, at one time or another, been victims of sexual violence.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, women in abusive relationships tend to experience poorer health than those who are not. They are also more likely to struggle with mental illnesses such as depression, and to have problems with substance abuse. Furthermore, many of these women – due to either being kept isolated, a broken self-esteem, or both – also have difficulties getting out into the job market, limiting their ability to gain freedom even further.
Erla believes it crucial that health care professionals acquaint themselves with the research brought forward in this book, in the hopes that victims of domestic violence can be identified and rescued.