A grassroots organisation that seeks to educate men on rape has not been invited to the national festival held at the Westman Islands.
Nei-hópurinn (The No Group), which was organised to help prevent rape by educating men, has been active for some years now, and was most recently invited to the Best Festival to be a visual presence and speak with attendees. As rape has been an endemic problem at outdoor festivals in Iceland, festival organisers welcomed their attendance.
However, the group has not, as of yet, been invited to one of Iceland’s largest outdoor festivals, the Merchant’s Holiday festival in the Westman Islands.
The festival has been criticised in the past for its lack of preparations in preventing rape from happening. In fact, Páll Scheving, who is in charge of organising the festival, told reporters that the presence of rape crisis prevention centre Stígamót creates more problems than they solve. The remarks sparked public outrage and calls for his resignation.
Already, there is a growing response to this stance, as many Icelanders are organising alternative events for the Merchant’s Holiday that do not take place at the Westman Islands. Whether organisers at the Westman Island festival will change their minds and invite Nei-hópurinn still remains to be seen.