#metoo, Iceland and experience of immigrant women: Multifaceted responses to gender-based violence
Málstofustjóri: Brynja Halldórsdóttir
Research funded by the National Icelandic Research Fund and the Icelandic Equality Fund.
Conveners: Brynja E. Halldórsdóttir and Jón Ingvar Kjaran
In the wake of the global #metoo movement, Iceland taken aim at better understanding the issues of gender-based violence in diverse contexts. Our papers explore some of the varied facets of gender-based violence and these issues can be addressed. The first paper explores how service providers can attend to the culturally diverse needs of immigrant women. The second talk explores how women categorized as vulnerable and how this discourse is internalized. The three paper discusses the vulnerability of immigrant women within the labor market and how educational materials can be a vital tool to inform women of their rights and services. The fourth paper explores discusses the current legal frameworks in Iceland can trap women in violent situations.
Sjá ágrip erindanna hér fyrir neðan.
The implementation of Article 20 of Istanbul Convention in the #metoo era: The services available to immigrant women in Iceland
In 2011, the Council of Europe published the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. As signatory, Iceland agreed to secure the rights of victims of gender-based violence without any discrimination. According to Article 20 of the Convention necessary measures should be taken to ensure that victims have access to relevant and needed services that facilitate their recovery. For these services to be effective providers need to have adequate resources and training to assist the victims or be able to refer them to appropriate services. The narratives published in January 2018 at the height of the #metoo movement in Iceland revealed that immigrant women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) are not provided with adequate services in accordance with Article 20 of the Convention. The narratives, detailing physical and sexual violence, and psychological aggression, also exposed how violence intersects with race/ethnicity, which indicate potential structural and systemic issues within Icelandic society. Using an intersectional lens, our talk analyses the content of 14 narratives and five stakeholder interviews with service providers. Results indicate that services available to immigrant women fail to accommodate their needs in a culturally significant way. The goal of the paper is to better understand how service providers can be supported through developing culturally responsive educational tools when working with women who experience intimate partner violence.
Lykilorð: intimate partner violence, Istanbul convention
Power dynamics and internalized oppression: Immigrant women and intimate partner violence in Iceland
At the height of #metoo in January 2018, immigrant women in Iceland shared their experiences of abuse and violence in intimate partnerships (IPV). These stories revealed underlying factors regarding their experiences of institutionalized and epistemic violence as related to the women’s backgrounds and responses of governmental institutions and service providers. Research on the intersection of IPV and immigrant status in Iceland is limited, though data indicate that a disproportionate number of immigrant women seek help at the women’s shelter compared to their Icelandic peers. This paper analyzes the diverse patterns of violence, underlying power structures, and various modes of oppression evident in the women’s narratives. Conducting a poststructuralist feminist discourse analysis of 14 #metoo narratives concerning IPV experiences of immigrant women in Iceland an intersectional lens highlights the “vulnerable” position immigrant women in Iceland occupy. Drawing on the women’s narratives, the paper answers the questions: How is violence constructed within the #metoo narratives of immigrant women in Iceland? How do internalized and externalized power dynamics constitute this violence? In order to raise awareness of the challenges immigrant women face, these power structures, often invisible, must be made visible. Our results lay the groundwork for future in-depth research on how systemic and institutional violence is reproduced when working with immigrant women who experienced IPV.
Lykilorð: intimate partner violence, epistemic violence, poststructuralist feminist discourse
The role of critical education in shifting paradigms that perpetuate violence against immigrant women in Iceland
Immigrants’ legal status and ongoing discourse around violence against immigrant women in Iceland and globally, emphasize the heightened vulnerability of immigrant women experiencing employment-based violence (EBV). In 2018, immigrant women in Iceland made public their experiences of institutional abuse, both in terms of infringement of their worker rights, as well as overt sexual violence in the workplace. Their stories emphasize how intersecting factors compound the violence they experience and that institutions combined with weak legislation fail to provide adequate information regarding immigrant women’s legal rights. Recent governmental reports indicate that institutional culture in Iceland is shaped by hidden structures of white supremacy, rewarding whiteness and marginalizing people and their cultures. This applies especially for women arriving from outside the EU and for women of colour. This presentation discusses current known status of immigrant women in the Icelandic labour market, relating it to the relationship between institutional culture and weak legislation regarding immigrant labour rights. By using the framework of critical theory and critical education to challenge the status quo, the goal is to develop tools and to inform policy making to raise awareness and increase access to important information; this for immigrant women, government organizations and for the employment sector in general.
Lykilorð: employment based violence, institutional violence, agentic participation
Caught like Fish in a Net: How Icelandic Laws Keep Immigrant Women in Abusive Situations
Often thought of as a gender paradise, Iceland has several legal structures that keep immigrant women in abusive partnerships and work situations. This became evident in 2018 in the 34 anonymous narratives from immigrant women in Kjarninn. The narratives included sexual assault, denial of rights, illegal employment situations, racial slurs at work, etc. at work, school and in personal relationships. The Foreign Nationals Act of 2016 is most often associated with immigrants in Iceland, but other laws are at play in the narratives. These, along with the actors charged with carrying out laws, can form a nexus that traps immigrants in unhealthy or unsafe situations. Moreover, they often deny immigrants their agency. This can be seen in the 2018 #MeToo narratives that are analyzed in light of the theories of legal liminality and legal violence. Liminality keeps a certain category of immigrants carved out by the law in insecure positions of being dependent on Icelandic citizens, permanent residents or institutions for their rights to reside and work in Iceland. This is one expression of legal violence, a theory that looks at laws not as neutral but as both loci of and justifications for violence. Without understanding the wider network, the Icelandic response to the violence against immigrant women will be incomplete and possibly ineffective.
Lykilorð: violence against women, legal frameworks