The sold-out conference "Perpetrators in Iceland" was held at Hilton Hotel Reykjavik on October 12, 2023. Thordis Elva, chair of NORDREF, gave a sneak peak into the research results that profile the perpetrators of online abuse against women and girls in Iceland (watch a recording here). The abusive behavior that was researched included illegal threats, image-based sexual abuse (also known as "revenge porn"), sexual harassment (including unwanted nude photos or "dick pics"), as well as sexist hate speech.
The preliminary results show that the perpetrator who threatens to kill, rape or otherwise cause harm to women in Iceland is male between the ages of 18 and 50. He has often started threatening women while he‘s still a minor himself (0-17 years old). He mostly threatens women he‘s in a romantic relationship with (currently or in the past), but he is also known to threaten women that belong to his group of friends/acquaintances. This is also true for the perpetrator of image-based sexual abuse, who is most commonly a man under 40 who had a romantic relationship with his victim in the past. However, when it comes to the perpetrator of sexual harassment, it is most commonly a man who has no relationship to the women he messages his dick to, or similar content, which in turn means that his victims don‘t often know his age. Judging by the material, they believe him to be in the age range of 18-50 years old. The men behind the sexist hate speech against women are similarly unknown to their victims, or their friends/acquaintances, and are relatively young, with a majority being under 40.
The victim testimonies gathered in the research depict a dark reality:
"A strange man sent me a snap [a message on the app Snapchat] saying he intended to rape me and wanted my mother to watch it."
"I haven‘t experienced online abuse but my 16 year old daughter has many times by boys and men up to 40+ years old. They have sent her pcitures, asked her out for a ride, offered to pay her for pictures, recorded videos of her without consent and shown them to other people and threatened to distribute them. She‘s also been threatened if she would dare to tell anyone."
"I‘ve received unwanted nudes from men of all ages more times than I can count."
"I‘m a man and I‘ve sensed prejudice and a lack of understanding by those I‘ve sought help from, the stereotype is that men are abusive, not women!"
"It‘s caused me a lot of anxiety, depression, being hyper alert and always scanning my surroundings."
"Those who did this to me showed no remorse."
NORDREF's full research report with perpetrator profiles from Sweden, Denmark and Iceland will be released on December 1st, 2023. Stay tuned!