Five sexual assaults were reported over the bank holiday weekend in Westmann Islands’ festival, Thjódhátíd; one incident took place by the portable WC facilities, an area that was supposed to be monitored. One sexual assault was reported in Akureyri’s Ein med öllu in North Iceland.
From Westmann Islands. Photo by Páll Stefánsson
The number of sexual assaults this year is higher than it’s been in previous years in the Westmann Islands with only one rape reported in 2009 and none reported in 2008 and 2010, the local sheriff told ruv.is.
A 23 years old woman said she had been raped inside one of the portable toilet restrooms; no security cameras were in place and she could not identify the attacker. However, the security staff on duty was able to find the suspect out of a crowd of 14.000 guests. He has been placed under arrest by the local police department and is to remain in custody.
“We break up the area into zones and make sure there is someone attending each area. The portable WC restrooms are one of the zones that are supposed to be monitored but we must have missed this one. Fortunately, security staff was able to find the suspect in the crowd,” Páll Scheving Ingvarsson, the chairman of the Thjódhátíd committee told the Rúv news room yesterday.
In addition to local security staff, the presence of Stígamót, an Education and Counseling Center for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence, send specialist teams to assist rape victims when an assault is reported in the festival; the organization has staff present in every festival held around the country.
Last spring Páll was quoted to have said in a council meeting that it seemed Stígamót fed on a pre-existing problem; the organization encouraged the problem rather than prevented it.
“We are certain our response to reports of sexual assaults are more than satisfactory; however, following the assault we are inclined to co-operate further with Stígamót’s specialist team in the future,” Ingvarsson told the Rúv news room yesterday.
He added that it might be time to add security cameras to the pre-existing security measures.
The second rape reported over the weekend took place in a private residence in Westmann Island; a 21 years old woman was assaulted.
Charges have been pressed in two out of the six assaults reported to the Police department in Westmann Islands.