Berglind Thorvaldsdottir Professor: Molly Daniel ENC 1145
Paedophile “I know I am a bastard and I don’t want to lie about what I did to these children,” said Karl Vignir. “I don’t know why nobody stopped me, and I know I deserve a punishment for what I did.” Karl Vignir opened up to two women who went to his apartment, with a secret camera, to talk about what he did in the past. He molested these two women in the past and he had no idea that he abused them. Right after their “meeting” they went straight to the police station and gave them the tape and that’s how everything was out in the open. “It was a huge relief. I didn’t know how I felt. I just wanted to go the corner and cry. It was all so overwhelming,” one of the women said after their “meeting” was shown on TV and everyone knew what he had done (Citation, fyrsti stafurinn á greininni). If it weren’t for them, maybe Karl Vignir would be molesting children today. Thanks to these women, he’s not doing that today. Karl Vignir is just the latest un a string of high-‐profile child molesters in contemporary media. In the book Paedophiles in Society, Sarah D.Goode talks about stereotypes. She writes that stereotypes of the paedophile are shared across society, changing over time: The attention to the ‘evil paedophile’ and the ‘nasty pervs’ featured in contemporary tabloid newspapers over the period of the twentieth century, stereotypes of paedophiles have ranged from the clinically abnormal to the violent working-‐class sex offender, the pathetic, rather grubby old man, the louche and decadent member of the Establishment, the middle-‐aged European sex tourist, the faceless internet
child pornographer, the fallen rock-‐star, and the cunning and evil member of a ‘paedophile ring.’(61) Karl Vignir Þorsteinsson is 68 years old and from Iceland. He has been molesting children for more than a decade, and the worst part is that no one knew or believed that he was doing it. Karl Vignir worked at a church, a morgue, at hotels, and with blind people. In all of those workplaces, he allegedly molested children. This all happened 50 years ago, but no one knew about it until December 2012, and when people found out, everything went crazy. This all started on a small island off the coast of Iceland called Westman Island, and 4-‐5 thousand people lived there at that time. This all happened in a church, where he was working. He molested three boys during his time on that island, then he moved himself to the mainland, and that’s how it really started. He started working at some places with children involved, and at every workplace he molested at least six to ten children. The first job he got, when he moved to the main land, was working at an institution for children who have been abused and taken away from their parents. Karl Vignir took advantage of his power and molested the children there, both girls and boys. He was really careful first and only harassed two boys, but with time he noticed that no one knew, so he got really aggressive and molested at least 10 children there. After working there for many years, he decided to quit. But he always came back to “visit” the children. Karl Vignir ruined so many lives and many of these children were really damaged and mentally destroyed and they didn’t see the point of living anymore. The same thing happened with his next job, which was working at a hotel. At that time, a lot of children worked there. They were helping the people who were staying at the
hotel with their bags. Karl Vignir was the boss there. The children always worked in the morning, and after they were done with the bags, Karl told them to go to some hotel room and take a nap. When the children woke up, Karl Vignir was usually in the room waiting for them to wake up. Luckily, most of the children got away before he started doing some things to them. Karl Vignir got fired because the hotel manager was starting to get suspicious and he saw that no kids wanted to be around him. But that didn’t stop Karl Vignir from finding a new job with kids involved. You can say that he was kind of unstoppable and everywhere he went, he ruined someone’s life. In February of this year, two boys went to Karl Vignir’s home and beat him up and told him how disgusting he is, asking how he could have done this to little kids and so on. Karl Vignir was close to death. Today he is still on trial, and we won’t know anything about it until the middle of April. Most of the people in Iceland are really upset about this and people have been gossiping a lot about this and making up stories about him. Gossiping is usually a bad thing, but in this case, it is a good thing. According to Dunbar, “gossip is functionally defined as conversation about who is doing what with whom, and whether it’s a good or bad thing and who is in and who is out, and why” (5). Now people are on alert about child molestation, and everyone knows who this man is. A similar case has been going on in America recently. Jerry Sandusky, a football coach at Penn State, has been molesting young boys for years. Both he and Karl Vignir thought they would never get caught, so they got more aggressive. The media in America is a lot different than in Iceland. First of all, 315 million people live in America and 320 thousand people live in Iceland, so if you do something wrong, like Sandusky or Karl Vignir, you are basically screwed. The newspaper in the U.S. will dig deep and find something dirty
about you and you will be recognized. It’s kind of the same deal in Iceland. I find that in America, you can’t walk away from something you have done wrong; you will go to jail or get killed. In Iceland, you can walk away as a free man, and that really bothers people in Iceland. The newspapers in Iceland have been asking what if Karl Vignir had done this in Texas? “I think Karl Vignir should pray and thank god that we live in a protected environment of Icelandic laws. What would people do to a man like him in Texas?” (Guðrún Sverrisdóttir) If this happened in Texas he would go to jail for sure and probably get killed right away. The prisons in Iceland are a joke compared to the prisons in America. You can have a computer in your room or a TV. In America you could get a pillow, if you are lucky. Michael Jackson went through the same thing. He was molesting a kid and it blew up America and the rest of the world. In January 2004, a man who wrote for The Smoking Gun somehow saw Michael Jackson’s files from the government and the jury testimony and wrote this: “If the harrowing and deeply disturbing allegations in these documents are true, Jackson is a textbook pedophile, a 46-‐year-‐old predator who plied children with wine, vodka, tequila, Jim Beam whiskey, and Bacardi rum. A man who gave boys nicknames like Doo Doo Head and Blowhole and then quizzed them about whether they masturbated and if ‘white stuff’ came out. A man who conducted drinking games with minors and surfed porn with them on a laptop in his Neverland Ranch bedroom, noting that if anyone asked what they were looking at, the kids should just say they were watching The Simpsons . A man who frequently talked sex with his little companions and explained that ‘boys have to masturbate or they go crazy.’ (The Smoking Gun , 2005: online) The media and this guy who wrote that maybe made this case look so much worse than it was. A lot of people were talking about that this didn’t happen and that ‘the king of pop’ could never do that. But
what Michael Jackson, Jerry Sandusky and Karl Vignir, all had in common the molesting of young boys who hadn’t even reached puberty and they were all male. Molestation is an international case. People are getting molested every day, which is so sad. It is a fact that if you are a woman and born in South Africa, you are more likely of being raped than learning how to read. In the U.S. a woman is raped every 2 minutes according to the U.S. Department of Justice (Rape Statistics). Everybody thinks about children being sacred and how much they have to learn and how to enjoy life when they get older. It is always so hard to hear and believe that someone molested a child. How can people seriously think about children in that way? And being the one to destroy that kids life forever? “Children have long been both beloved and denigrated, idealized and feared. Increasingly from the Enlightenment and into the Romanic period, children were cherished as almost sacred, angelic, noble, Apollonian, closer to God than disenchanted adults ever can be; in Wordsworth’s phrase, even ‘trailing clouds of glory’ as infants descended from heaven to impure Earth. At the same time, an older but still continuing tradition sees children as intrinsically evil, Dionysian, wild, untamed, asocial and anti-‐social, needing wickedness beaten out of them and goodness beaten in. Thus the child is deviant, threatening, anarchic but also beloved and dependent, calling forth self-‐sacrifice and altruism on the part of adults, especially the parent” (Jenks, 1996). Maybe people didn’t want to believe these scandals because they are men, famous and had power. What if they were all women? Would people believe it right away? It’s really rare to read about some woman molesting a young boy or a girl. In the beginning of this year, a teacher was having sexual intercourse with a student in the classroom during school hours
in Florida. The case was pretty big because the teacher tried to escape when she found out that people knew about them. But I think women in general get really upset reading about a woman having sexual intercourse with a young boy, but when males read this, they either get upset or laugh and I have that feeling that some of them laugh. Males are accused of molesting children more often than women. I don’t think anyone could answer that question: Why do men molest children more often than women? Gossiping about pedophilia is good. Grown ups and children will be on alert about that person and be careful. But there are some people, who are very unlucky, that gets falsely accused of pedophilia and have their lives ruined by other people´s lies, but that doesn’t happened that often. When is comes to “men gossip” or “women gossip”, people believe more what men say because girls intend to change the stories and make it sound a lot worse than it was. Men do that too, they tell stories about themselves and in that story they look like heroes. Easthope’s notion of “male bonding” within men’s magazines may be augmented by a description of magazine discourse as “male gossip.” Gossip is a mode of speaking traditionally associated with women, which in its broadest sense is a means of affirming group solidarity and an unofficial channel for information. (21)
Works Cited “Barnaníðingur brotið á fleiri en fimmtíu börnum: Aldrei þurft að svara til saka.“ Pressan. 7 January 2013. Web. 17 March 2013. Benwell, Bethan. “Male Gossip and Language Play in the Letters Pages of Men’s Lifestyle Magazines.” Journal of Popular Culture. 19-‐33. Print Cooky, Cheryl. “Success Without Honor: Cultures of Silence and Pain in the Penn State Scandal.” Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies 12 (2012): 326-‐329. Sage Journals. Web. 17 March 2013. Goode, Sarah D. Pædophiles in Society: Reflecting on Sexuality, Abuse, and Hope. London: Palgrave, 2011. Print. “Rape Statistics – South Africa and Worldwide 2011.” Rape Survivor Journey. Survivor Journey, n. d. Web. 17 March 2013. Valgerðardóttir, Sunna. “Þrjú ungmenni beittu Karl Vigni líkamlegu og andlegu ofbeldi heila nótt: Bundu Karl Vigni við stól og píndu.” Fréttablaðið 9 January 2013. Web. 17 March 2013. Van Niekirk, Jason. “The Virtue of Gossip.” South African Journal of Philosophy 27.4 (2008): 400-‐412. Print.