Following the Harvey Weinstein case women all over the world are stepping forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault under the hashtag “me too”; an idea originally voiced on twitter by actress Alyssa Milano to give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Now women are opening up in Iceland and these queer women have given GayIceland permission to publish their stories.


They were just having fun

In the last few hours my Facebook news feed has been overflown with the hashtag #metoo. At first I wasn’t going to take part. I’ve often found that what has happened to me is so little, nothing to complain about compared to what others have endured.
Then I realized – it all roots in the same! And those “small things” that have happened to me are part of the same problem others are describing.

Helga Vollertsen.

Like when I was twelve and the boys in my class would do their best to rip off my bikini top during swimming lessons. The teacher couldn’t have cared less – they were just having fun.
Or the guy I had been clicking with at the bar, who followed me to the bus, on to the bus, all the way to my bus stop, even though I repeatedly told him he wasn’t coming home with me.
Or the time my pantyhose was ripped by someone twice my age trying to finger me.

And all the times I was followed home when I lived downtown, all the grabbing and kisses no one asked for.

And that I myself find it insignificant and am ashamed of it, thinking I called for it in some way or another, – that IS the problem! All the small things add up and paint the picture of a societal trend we have to be aware off. So, #metoo.                                                          Helga Vollertsen, museologist.

“… those “small things” that have happened to me are part of the same problem others are describing … All the small things add up and paint the picture of a societal trend we have to be aware off.”


No one was helping us

I, along with many other girls from my hometown, was subjected to sexual harassment. This was around the time we were going through puberty and some of the boys in our class often tried to barge into our dressing room at the gymnasium or at the swimming pool to get a peek. That was stressful, and we had to be quick to cover ourselves, but they were usually stopped before they got through the door. Their behavior was considered unacceptable. It was, however, considered perfectly okay for a middle-aged man to stroll through our dressing room every single time we were showering or getting dressed.

This man was an employee at the old swimming pool that has now been torn down. Us girls were usually made to use the small dressing room. It was a dark cottage with one narrow walkway that passed the showers and he claimed that he had to walk through it to get to his workstation. It was a lie, because he could just as easily have walked behind the counter and gone outside by the pool to get to said station. And he didn’t just walk through, looking straight ahead. He looked at us. I scrambled to cover myself every time a girl screeched. It was always a matter of hurrying to get showered and dressed before he entered. I remember one time where I had just enough time to scrunch up my underwear to cover my crotch, but didn’t have enough time to cover my chest. I felt utterly humiliated and helpless.

Sigríður j. Valdimarsdóttir (Erica Pike).

This didn’t just happen to girls in my class, this also happened to girls in older classes and younger. I remember some brave girls who complained to the school principal, but I always heard back that this was not considered an issue. That the man meant nothing by it, he was just trying to get to his workstation. The message was clear: No one was helping us. This was an okay thing to do even if it scared and humiliated us. I believe that the principal truly didn’t think anything sinister was taking place; there wasn’t much talk about sexual harassment of children back then. But he did fail us repeatedly, for years. I didn’t even tell my parents, because the message from the school was that this was acceptable and who was I – a very naive and vulnerable child – to say otherwise.

I don’t remember this man walking into our dressing room after puberty, so I assume his interest was only in girls in their puberty. I had a best friend back then, a guy. He asked me after I posted this status on Facebook who this man was. After I told him he said he couldn’t remember the guy. I’m glad the man didn’t behave the same way toward the boys in my class. However, I can describe the guy’s facial features, I remember him so clearly. And the glint in his eyes.

So, how has this affected me? Firstly, I’m terrified for my sons. I’m so scared that someone older will try to harm them sexually. I watch everyone and every situation they’re in to make sure they don’t have to feel as helpless as I did. I know most parents fear this, but this actually causes me crippling anxiety. I’m never at ease when they’re out by themselves or at a friend’s house. I’m always wondering if they’re safe. When they get home I ask if everything was okay. And I watch them, to see if they’re behaving normally.

“… he didn’t just walk through, looking straight ahead. He looked at us. I scrambled to cover myself every time a girl screeched. It was always a matter of hurrying to get showered and dressed before he entered …”

Secondly, I hate dressing rooms. I feel so uncomfortable, even if it’s not the same dressing room. It can be a brand new, state of the art dressing room and I still feel like it’s dark and dreadful and that people are watching me. This has robbed me of the joy of going swimming with my sons – who love swimming. I didn’t make the connection of my hatred of dressing rooms with this man until a cousin of mine, who didn’t grow up in the same hometown, said that there were oddly many women our age, in our hometown, who hated to go swimming. That’s when it clicked and I’m glad I know the reason why. Now I can try to overcome it.

Thirdly, this man has robbed me of my trust in men. I was taught at an early age that men did what they wanted to and it was considered appropriate, even if it was at my discomfort. When I walk outside by myself, I walk with my fists balled up, or keys sticking out between, ready to defend myself. I take precautions so that I won’t be sexually harassed when I go out clubbing. I have never tasted alcohol, or even been tempted to, because I don’t want to be helpless against rapists. I can’t understand this new, brave movement that says women shouldn’t take precautions, because I learned that I had to in order to not get sexually harassed. My state of thought through everything is: If I don’t protect myself, then who will?

Sigríður J. Valdimarsdóttir a.k.a. Erica Pike, author.


I’m going to split your cunt!

Every woman has many stories of varying depth, knock on effect and horror: I can’t list every incident as nor can every woman. But for two which happened before I hit 18.

I camped in my parents garden once at around 13 and two boys who I knew from the neighborhood came in and at some point they tried to force themselves on me. I was able to be vicious enough to prevent anything invasive but by the time I got to school the next day they had PROUDLY told classmates they had. I was group shamed by them and I knew I couldn’t even explain what had actually happened.

When I was 16 a man jumped out at me when I was walking home from school. He chased me screaming: I’M GOING TO SPLIT YOUR CUNT!

These are just two examples.

“… from 12 it was confirmed what I already knew. That my body was bait. And I had no choice but to know that.”

At my girls school we had a police officer come to school when I was 12 to teach us ways to escape any man following us. So from 12 it was confirmed what I already knew. That my body was bait. And I had no choice but to know that.

The hideous thing is, I am not shocked by this. But having a daughter, I AM horrified. I am going to have to watch her deal with this shit too. Unless the conversation changes.

And I want to add: This is NOT a female only problem. But its been bred through the abuse of women.

Kitty Von-Sometime, artist.


No more silence, no more victim blaming

When I was 12 years old I was sexually assaulted for the first time. I was held while my genitals were touched forcefully by someone a few years older than me. I never did anything, because frankly I had no idea what to do.

Ugla Stefanía. Photo/Oddvar Hjartarson.

This didn’t happen because I was seen as a girl, but I believe it happened because of my femininity and gender non conformity as a kid. It was because I was seen as a target, because I was different.

Since then there have been countless of instances where I have been harassed, including being stalked by several men after I came out publicly as a trans person in Iceland.
I have also been touched without consent too many times to count and I was sexually harassed by a fellow activist within the LGBTQIA community.

Sexual harassment and sexual violence happens for many reasons and to all sorts of people. What combines these people is often that they are in some way marginalised, whether that is for their femininity, identity or social status.

In order to truly combat sexual harassment and sexual violence, we need to look at the issue from an intersectional perspective and from the perspective of power dynamics. This does not mean that people who are in a position of power or privilege are never sexually assaulted or suffer sexual violence – it means that those who are more marginalised are often more vulnerable to it.

“… there have been countless of instances where I have been harassed, including being stalked by several men after I came out publicly as a trans person in Iceland.”

It’s a worldwide epidemic and we need to be loud about it and demand that sexual harassment and sexual violence are tackled by authorities and institutions with measures and protocols that truly combat it. No more silence, no more victim blaming, no more bullshit. Demand real change. Demand responsibility. Demand justice.

Ugla Stefanía, activist.


The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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