Published March 8, 2018
On International Women’s Day, Icelandic women are sharing on social media a new campaign called #aldreiaftur, or ‘never again,’ in support of women who have been violated by a partner or a family member.
The campaign, which branches out from the #metoo revolution, encourages women to put one of the following pictures or a combination of the two in support of survivors of sexual violence. The concept is similar to the one that generated from the Facebook group ‘Beauty tips’ in 2015, where people put up a yellow or orange profile picture if they had been or knew someone who had been victim of sexual violence. The response was outstanding. This time, however, the purple picture indicates that one has been violated by a family member or partner, while the pink one indicates you know someone who has been in a similar situation.
Without a voice
The idea came from Kolbrún Guðmundsdóttir, who saw the necessity for a safe space for women who had been victims of domestic violence. “There was no Facebook group for me—for those who have been the object of violence from someone they trusted, like a family member or a partner,” Kolbrún told Visir. “I realised that those who had been victims of domestic violence or that were sexually abused in their youth had no voice.”
Kolbrún decided to create a Facebook group where women could share their experiences or look for help when they needed. So far the group has 400 members, but Kolbrún calls that “a drop in the ocean.” In order to protect women and their privacy, Kolbrún made the Facebook group private. “We can’t express ourselves publicly for fear of being sued or that our children will be attacked,” she explains. “We can be at risk of being ostracized by our family and the consequences can be immense for us. We can’t change family like we change our jobs.”
According to Kolbrún, many of these women have had to abandon their families to survive, while others are still in the same situation, constantly abused by partners or family members. To read other women’s stories is helpful, but Kolbrún admits that the group’s ultimate goal is to encourage a change in the system, especially when it comes to the institutional response to violence, from issuing a restraining order to helping children who are victims of abuse. “It’s really hard to say what we need on the long run,” Kolbrún adds. “But what we need first and foremost right now is to be believed.”