"The Picture of Daddy
- Thelma´s Story"
This is the title of a just published book that has shocked and horrified the public in Iceland. It´s the true story of the girl Thelma and her four sisters, who throughout their entire childhood, during the seventies and eighties, were violated, sexually abused and prostituted by their alcoholic and mentally disturbed father and his "friends", to whom he "lent" his daughters to have sex with them, in exchange for booze and drugs and sometimes, Thelma suspects, even money.
The publication has especially shaken the community of the small town Hafnarfjörður, in the vicinity of Reykjavík, where the family lived, as well as everybody else in the country. People are asking all sorts of questions, as to how this could persist in such a close community, where everybody more or less knows each other and what is going on. It seems there were persistent, ugly rumours and that lots of people knew that there was something amiss in "the little yellow house". There seem to have been some inquiries and attempts to intervene on behalf of the girls´ school (where they are all noted as having been excellent, friendly and well behaved students, neatly dressed and smiling, despite of coming from a "problem" home) and the local authorities, but that nobody really took any serious action or initiative to find out what was wrong, to get to the bottom of what exactly was happening or take precautions to stop whatever it was.
It didn´t help matters much of course that the girls´mother, justly afraid of her husbands rage, when asked (as accounted for by an at-the-time school nurse, social worker and police) denied that the family was having any problems, insisting that "we are fine". But then, is it reasonable to expect a different answer from her, with a crazy husband listening in another room? In an interview on a television news program about the book and the story it tells, the former school nurse even muttered at the end that she was herself "dead-scared of the guy"! It has also been pointed out that the mother may have had some fear of the authorities, dreading the prospect of possibly having her children taken away from her if the truth came out.
"Nobody asked us. Nobody saved us!"
The woman Thelma is Óskar´s ex-sister-in law, she was the wife of his brother Helgi for some years. They had been married for about two years and she had given birth to their only son when she opened up to him and told him what went on in her childhood´s home. He had already had some suspictions, ever since he got to know her, but even so it was a great shock to learn the ugly truth. He was the one who encouraged her to seek help and go to "Stígamót", the center for victims of sexual abuse and violence, where she went and stayed for a whole year.
They later got divorced, but are still fond of each other and keep in good contact. Thelma has ever since that time been actively involved in the work of "Stígamót", giving council and helping other women that have had similar horrible experiences to her own.
And now she has with great courage, in this new book* authored by
Gerður Kristný, a well known Icelandic writer, unfolded to the public the story of the five sisters and the truth about their gruesome childhood.
The shame is not ours! - If anybody in a similar situation can be helped by me revealing all and telling this story, my goal with this book is achieved."
She is a real hero!A post on the same subject from "The Iceland Weather Report"