“I want men to be nice to their wives…not because they’re afraid to be put in prison if they’re not…”

Read an interesting article about Samtök um kvennaathvarf, Iceland’s only shelter for abused women this morning in the Reykjavík Grapevine, that may be of interest to some of you: “Nowhere Else to Turn,” by Mark O’Brien. Some interesting points of note (besides that first one about it being the only such shelter in the country):

  • “[T]he organisation…serves as a support centre, sometimes offering consultation to women who come but may not wish to stay, providing support groups for victims of violence and running a 24-hour hotline.”
  • Although Iceland has a global reputation as being a great place to be a woman (and generally, I believe this to be true), the country has some surprising statistics related to women and violence: “42% of Icelandic women have been subjected to violence at some point since they were sixteen, according to a 2008 survey by the Centre for Children and Family Research. Almost a quarter—or 29,000 Icelandic women—between the ages of 18 and 80—claimed to have been victims of sexual abuse.”
  • A particularly Icelandic approach to social services: “Aiding without taking over is at the heart of what Kvennaathvarf does: ‘We try to give the women the help they need without taking away their responsibility or their independence.'”
  • There’s a fundraiser going on for this center right now–buttons are being sold around town–to supplement its funds, which are received from the city of Reykjavík and the national government. I’ve seen these around, but haven’t known what they are for–think I’ll buy one now.

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