Sexual violence -A Day in the Life of a Woman-

13th of August 2020


Herdís Hlíf Þorvaldsdóttir




I often get angry. Or maybe frustrated is a better word for it. Sad. It can simply be so unfair to be a woman. 

I am a young woman and I experience some form of sexual harassment almost every single day. It differs in severity of course but it is still always just as awful.  I started working on this piece because of this endless, unnecessary and incredibly tiring problem.

The upper part of the piece is covered in news headlines all related to sexual abuse. Finding them was sadly very easy. I searched for keywords on the websites of Icelands’ main news organizations and I was  hit with a huge wave of terrible stories. In the end I had collected over 200 headlines that I had chosen from an even bigger sea of headlines about all kinds of horrible sexual violence and harassment, and I still had not scrolled further back in time than may 2018 (I made this piece in early spring 2019..) That really is horrible enough on it’s own. 

The lower part of the piece is covered in sentences that come from myself and other women that were courageous enough to send me their experiences. These are all sentences that have been said to us or about us, or that we have heard someone say about other women. It is everything from “flirting”, locker room talk, threats and harassment to sentences that were said before, during or after sexual abuse occurred. 

In the middle of it all I painted a self portrait. With it I am saying that I and I ALONE control what happens my body. Nobody else. I chose to show myself in the position of Venus, which for a period of time in history was the only woman that was acceptable to paint without clothes on, the goddess of fertility, grace and purity. I am my own goddess, not the goddess of fertility or purity or some bullshit. I am me and I am strong and I am beautiful and that is enough and the same thing applies to every single woman out there, you are your own goddesses as well!

We have to remember that because this is reality. These are real headlines, real sentences, real survivors, real people being harassed and abused every single day. We get so numb because sadly this is part of everyday life. There is a new headline every day, a comment about your butt at work and some boys talking about this nasty, easy girl from Borgarnes behind you on the bus.

I struggled mentally while making this piece and being so exposed to all this violance for days and weeks. But this is something that we need to keep talking about as often and as loud as we can until it is no longer dangerous to be a woman.












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Styrkir þú Vía?

Vía treystir á þitt framlag. Með því að styrkja Vía tekur þú þátt í að halda uppi miðli sem lætur sig jafnrétti og fjölbreytileika varða.

Vía, áður þekkt sem Flóra útgáfa, hefur verið starfandi í 3 ár fyrir gagnrýna lesendur sem langar að kafa undir yfirborðið á marghliða samfélagsumræðu út frá jafnréttissjónarmiðum. Vía hefur frá upphafi fjallað um aðkallandi málefni líðandi stundar og birt fjölda einstakra pistla sem hafa varpað ljósi á ójöfnuð, ójafnrétti, fordóma, íhaldssemi og ofbeldi sem finna má á öllum stigum samfélagsins. Við leggjum áherslu á að upphefja frásagnir þeirra einstaklinga sem valdakerfi fara hvað verst með og valdefla raddir fólks með lifaða reynslu.

Hvert einasta framlag, stórt eða lítið, gerir okkur kleift að halda uppi gagnrýnni jafnréttisumræðu og er ómissandi fyrir áframhaldandi starf Vía.


Styrkja Vía


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