Festival Encouraged To Do More To Prevent Rape And Assault

Festival Encouraged To Do More To Prevent Rape And Assault

Published July 30, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Grapevine Archives

Organisers of this weekend’s Merchants’ Holiday festival in the Westman Islands have been challenged to ensure there will be no rapes nor assaults this year.

Vísir reports that last year, 16 sexual assaults at the festival were reported to police. This figure actually marks a decline in assaults at the event.

By contrast, the Eistnaflug music festival has, for ten years running now, never had a reported sexual assault or major fight. Stefán Magnússon, Eistnaflug’s organiser, says the reason is simple: they have made it emphatically clear that violence will not be tolerated.

“I have gotten up on the stage every single night,” Stefán told reporters. “I have asked people to take care of themselves and others, and to not behave like idiots.”

Stefán believes the organisers of the Westman Islands’ festival do not take such matters seriously enough.

“It makes no sense that the [Westman Islands Merchants’ Holiday festival] organisers celebrate how well things went when there was maybe one rape or ten assaults reported,” he said.

Birgir Guðjónsson, the chairperson of the festival organisers, contends that measures will be taken to help protect attendees.

“This is just violence that we do not want to see on the island, or anywhere else,” he said. “Everything will be done to try and stop this. Security cameras of the area will be increased, as will the number of security guards.”

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