From Iceland — Festival Organiser Unapologetic Over Rape Crisis Centre Remarks

Festival Organiser Unapologetic Over Rape Crisis Centre Remarks

Published May 6, 2011

Páll Scheving, who is in charge of organising this year’s bank holiday festival in the Westman Islands, stands by his criticism of rape crisis centre Stígamót, pointing to an incident that occurred 17 years ago to back up his claims.
As Grapevine reported, things went awry when Páll said at a town council meeting in the Westman Islands that Stígamót looks for trouble, creating more problems than they solve, and that if Stígamót wanted to come to the festival, they could pay their way in.
In response, Þórunn Þórarinsdóttir, a councillor at Stígamót, said, “This is like saying that when a doctor is on the scene, there are more accidents, and that the doctor somehow causes people to be hurt.”
The remarks also launched the creation of a Facebook group, Stígamót á Þjóðhátíð (Stígamót at the national festival), which at the time of this writing already has over 1,000 members, gaining hundreds in the past week alone.
Páll stands by his remarks, however, pointing to an incident which occurred in 1994. Eyjan reports that at that time, Stígamót painted a rather dark picture of the festival for the media, saying that a group of rapists were on their way to the festival. Afterwards, Stígamót had said there were more sexual assaults at the festival than the police records showed.
For this reason, Páll believes that Stígamót is an unwelcome presence at the festival, for speaking badly of the festival itself. Since 1994, the festival has had its own team to deal with reports of rape and to bring victims to the hospital.
At the time of this writing, an informal boycott of the festival is underway, and many Icelanders are calling for Páll to resign as the festival organiser.

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