I’m from Reykjavik, Iceland, and I want to share my story as a warning to other women.
Although I do get a lot of verbal harassment in the US, I feel somewhat safer here than back home in Iceland, because the stories you hear there are mostly about rape. That said, I haven’t heard of any statistics that imply that rape is more common in Iceland than anywhere else. What I’m implying is that even though a country or culture does not present itself as male-dominated or predatory (through common cat-calling to insults and grabbing, for e.g.), there is always a chance of danger, unfortunately.
One Saturday night I was sitting on a bench on the main shopping street in Reykjavik, Iceland. I was drunk and tired, and against my better judgment, I sat down on the bench to take a break from walking home. Within a minute, a guy around 20 years of age approached me. He said that I shouldn’t sit there alone, I looked like easy prey and that he would like to walk me home, to make sure that I would be safe.
I said that I was glad for his concern, but that I would be fine by myself. He kept insisting, saying that he would feel awful if he didn’t make sure that I’d get home safely. He seemed very genuine and sweet, so I gave in.
During the fifteen minute walk to my house (I was living with my parents at the time) we talked about what we do, and mostly his girlfriend, whom he said he was in love with.
When we got to my house he asked to come in, he needed to call a cab and didn’t want to wait in the cold. I was reluctant, but said OK. When we got inside we sat on my bed, because there was nowhere else to sit, and he began touching my shoulder and thigh, asking for a kiss, just one kiss.
I was shocked. I asked him about his girlfriend, who called at that very moment, and he lied to her straight about being at a party and explaining that it was quiet because he was in the bathroom!
His taxi came and he ran out the door, thankfully.
After this incident, I don’t trust anyone to walk me home except my husband and some very close friends. The fact that this guy used my fear of sexual assault to harass me in such a calculated way is alarming. I HATE to say this, but women, be vary of strange men, even the “nice” ones.
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland