Compounded violence – the experience of immigrant women

14. 04, 2021

Stígamót, a counselling center for survivors of sexual violence, and the trade union Efling, have joined forces in combating sexual violence, through making relevant information accessible. This includes a brochure outlining Stígamót’s services for survivors, and the importance of seeking assistance when faced with the after effects of sexual violence. The brochure provides information in ten languages.Read the brochure

Compounded violence – the experience of immigrant women

The #metoo stories of immigrant women in Iceland showed that many shared experiences of sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment in the workplace. Their stories reflect how their status, and marginalization within Icelandic society, can make their experiences of violence and the after effects complicated and multi layered. This situation can be further aggravated by limited access to information and services.Stígamót, a counselling center for survivors of sexual violence, and the trade union Efling, have joined forces in combating sexual violence, through making relevant information accessible. This includes a brochure outlining Stígamót’s services for survivors, and the importance of seeking assistance when faced with the after effects of sexual violence. The brochure provides information in ten languages.The percentage of immigrants who seek assistance at Stígamót is usually around 4%, a figure that does not correspond with the number of immigrants in Iceland, which stands at around 15%. It is safe to say that sexual violence towards immigrant women is as common as to other groups of women, and even more likely when we take into consideration the prejudice and discrimination that they can be subjected to. One of Stígamót’s main objectives has always been to reach a diverse group of survivors, therefore it is very important for us to ensure that reliable and useful information is accessible to immigrants who live in Iceland. We need to make sure all residents of Iceland are familiar with the range of services available to them.Efling is the biggest trade union in Iceland, and more than half of its members are immigrants. Therefore, the well-being of immigrants in Icelandic society is a priority concern for Efling. Furthermore, our position is that trade unions should take an active role in combating violence. Sexual violence is not a private issue of survivors, but rather a social issue that needs to be addressed systemically and with cooperation of all stakeholders. It is a principle of multinational societies that critical information is accessible to all, especially information that concerns quality of life and health issues.The brochure which is published today includes important information and messages for survivors of sexual violence in ten languages. The languages are: Arabic, English, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese. Amongst other things it points out that Stígamót’s services are free, and that sessions are available in Icelandic and English, and if needed, interpretation is provided free of charge.We see this as an important step towards a more comprehensive support system for the needs of immigrant women, men and non-binary individuals in Iceland. We encourage all individuals, associations, institutions and companies to distribute this material and take an active part in supporting survivors in seeking assistance.Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, chairman of EflingSteinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttir, spokeswoman for StígamótArticle published on visir.is 14.04.2021