When Being the Greatest Country for Women Just Isn't Enough

For the past several years there has been a tremendous turmoil in the Icelandic government. First with the economic crash, then with the Panama papers and now the honor restoring of sentenced pedophiles. There is just something odd about reading a Guardian article about Why Iceland is the best place in the world to be a woman when on the other hand in Iceland there are somewhat constant news about sexual assault and then knowing that pedophiles can get their honor restored.

What happened?

On 15th of September, the Icelandic government collapsed. Bright Future (Björt Framtíð) decided that they no longer trusted the current government. At that point, the government was little over eight months old, which included their approximately 3-month summer vacation. 

What is the honor restoring all about?

The honor restoring is basically that your records are cleaned. You are no longer considered a criminal. From 1995 to 2016 the government has restored the honor of 32 individuals, all of whom have been males. Of these 32, ten have been about sexual assaults, and four of those were child abuse cases.

Who are these people?

There are three names that are being talked about the most with the honor restoring. Both men got their honor restored on the same day

Robert Downey (previously known as Róbert Árni Hreiðarsson) was in 2008 sentenced to 3 years for sexual offenses against four teenage girls. After his honor was restored he got his rights to be a lawyer back. He has now been charged again for sexual assault against a teenage girl.

Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson raped his stepdaughter every day for 12 years. In 2004, he got a five-and-a-half-years sentence. After his honor was restored he started driving buses that were used to drive school children around. 

Sigurður Ágúst Þorvaldsson was in the Icelandic national basketball team and was charged with raping a teenage girl in 2009 and sentenced to two years in prison. In his recommendation letter from a former trainer of his, it was mentioned that he behaved with honor both on and off the basketball court. 

But why now?

For several months now the Icelandic media has been focusing on that Robert Downey got his honored restored. The parents of the girls he molested demanded to know how Robert got his honor restored. The straw that broke the camel's back was the fact that the father of the current Prime Minister was one of the people that wrote a recommendation letter for Hjalti.

The current Prime Minister has already been involved in several scandals. His name came up in the Ashley Madison leak and in the Panama papers and now this. For normal people, one scandal might be enough to end a political career but for Bjarni Benediktsson it gave him a raise.

What happens now?

The Icelandic people will vote once again on the 28th of October. Some old faces have decided to make this election be their big comeback, like Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, our previous Prime Minister who was the reason for the previous collapse of the government. Sigmundur created a new political party The Center Party (Miðflokkurinn) and in a poll done by Fréttablaðið it looks like he might get six seats at the parliament.