Stígamót celebrates its 22nd anniversary on International Women’s Day and presented its report on the occasion.
Violent crimes have increased by 13 percent from year to year.
A higher number of victims of violent crimes sought counseling from Stígamót last year than in the previous 18 years. The number of violent attackers has increased by 25 percent from year to year. Gang rapes can be traced back to a gang culture and organized crimes, a spokesperson for Stígamót told Rúv.is.Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The number of visits from victims of violent crimes has not reached these heights since 1994, when few resources were available to victims, according to Guðrún Jónsdóttir, a spokesperson for Stígamót. Initially, both children and adults came to Stígamót as it was the only crisis centre for victims of violent crimes and molestation.
Since the beginning of the current recession, fewer cases have been reported to the center.
“It seems people were busy dealing with other problems and didn’t want to deal with matters of the past. But now we’re seeing new heights,” Guðrún said.
Guðrún told mbl.is that the fact that more victims of violent crimes are seeking counseling from Stígamót can be attributed to more open discussions in society.
“The variety of solutions available to victims and the open dialogue helps victims to seek assistance, ” she said.
Last fall, Stígamót opened Kristínarhús, a center for victims of human trafficking and prostitution, following which a number of victims stepped forward and talked about their experiences.
“Around the same time we opened Kristínarhús, the controversial case of Guðrún Ebba, daughter to the late bishop Skúli Ólafsson, who molested her as a child, surfaced. The media is effective in bringing attention to the topic but the heights reached in the month of March are unexplainable. It’s just the way it is, ” she explained.
According to Guðrún, sexual assaults have been on the rise in the last few years. Last year alone, 18 gang rapes were reported compared to 13 the previous year. The increase is attributed to gang culture and organized crime. The last gang rape to be reported took place in an alley in downtown Reykjavík in February, the victim a 16 years old girl. Charges were filed.
“It is evident to the police and all those involved in these cases that organized crime, both Icelandic and foreign, greatly affects women. As creepy as it may seem, groups, groups of men, do decide to rape a single person ,” Guðrún concluded in an interview with Rúv.is.