From Iceland — 100 Men Send Open Letter To Festival Organisers

100 Men Send Open Letter To Festival Organisers

Published January 19, 2012

A group letter signed by 100 men to organisers of the Westman Islands bank holiday festival expresses grave concerns about rapes that occurred their last year, and asks festival organisers what they plan to do to stop them from happening this year.
Last year, Páll Scheving, who was in charge of organising 2011’s bank holiday festival in the Westman Islands, said at a town council meeting in the Westman Islands that rape crisis centre 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.
The remarks were met with strong criticism, but his decision not to invite Stígamót stayed. Five rapes were later reported to the police after the bank holiday festival on the island.
This year, 100 men have signed a group letter addressed to the Westman Islands town council and police, the Westman Islands Sports Alliance (ÍBV), and a board member of the national holiday committee, posiing three questions:
1. In light of the fact that at least five rapes occurred at the festival on the island last year, will the festival be held again this year?
2. In light of the fact that the bank holiday festival sets itself apart for the number of rapes that occur there every year, why have no special groups been called in who might prevent them happening?
3. Will ÍBV be paying any resitutions to the victims of rape that have happened at the festival?
A response to the letter from the addressed parties has already been made. While saying that “violence is never acceptable”, they state that the responsibility for rape cannot be placed on anyone but those who commit it”, and do not specify what, if any, measures will be taken to prevent future rapes from happening at the festival.

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