The Icelandic government collapsed last night because of an alleged cover-up of a letter written by the father of the current prime minister to help a friend, convicted of child sexual abuse, clear his record. The Icelandic Women’s Rights Association has written the following statement in response:
Last night was a turning point in Icelandic society, when the country’s government collapsed, not because of money, not because of political squabbling between professional politicians, but because women spoke up. People spoke up. People spoke up about the violence that is perpetrated against women and children. People spoke up when men, convicted of violence, knocked on their friends’ doors to ask for favors, to seek the age-old mutual insurance of powerful men protecting other powerful men. People spoke up when the bureaucracy stamped without a thought papers that cleared criminal records of men convicted of violence, without debate and without transparency.
We as a society have no more tolerance for gender-based violence, no more tolerance for violence against women and children. For far too long, our society has remained silent about the fact that a large group of women and children suffer violence at the hand of those who are closest to them, are not safe in the place where they should be safest, at home.
We have had enough of a system that protects perpetrators of violence while ignoring the rights of their survivors. Violence against women is a direct threat to the democratic participation of women, and therefore a direct threat to Icelandic democracy. How can we build an equal and progressive society, when we still can’t guarantee the safety of all our citizens?
Let us work together, from the right and the left on the political scale, women, men and everyone in between, to create a society we can be proud of. A society that mutually insures all of us, not just some of us.