Alleges She Was Sexually Abused by Leading Literary Figure

Vala Hafstað

In an article published by Morgunblaðið today, Guðný Bjarnadóttir, an Icelandic physician, states she was sexually abused as a child by Kristinn E. Andrésson (1901-1973), who served as a member of parliament and editor of the Mál og menning literary journal (Tímarit Máls og menningar).

The article, which has received enormous attention in Iceland, comes in the wake of the publication of a book about Kristinn and his wife, Þóra Vigfúsdóttir.

“There are certain facts about Kristinn E. Andrésson, not mentioned in the book,” Guðný writes, “which I feel obliged to reveal — facts that have followed me all my life, although luckily, I haven’t let them ruin for me more than was necessary when a child carries a secret not even Mom and Dad may know about.”

In addition to serving as MP for the Socialist Party 1942-1946, Kristinn was a leading literary figure in Iceland in the 20th century, and the journal of which he was editor was the country’s main literary journal at the time.

In the article, Guðný relates that when she was nine years old, she was invited to the home of Kristinn and Þóra, her parents’ friends, to read a book that wasn’t available in her own home.

She states that when she was getting ready to read in the living room after Þóra had left the room, Kristinn began touching her inappropriately. When he finally let go of her, she asked to go home, but was forced to accept a ride home with him. She said no to his suggestion to take her to the outskirts of the city, she writes.

Guðný felt ashamed and paralyzed after returning home and never visited the couple again. A few months later, however, Kristinn repeated his behavior, she states, when he surprised her with his presence as she came home.

After that, she was repeatedly invited to Kristinn’s home, but always refused to go there.

“I kept silent about this and felt ashamed for decades,” Guðný writes. “Ashamed of a memory I never asked for and could do nothing about. I told my spouse about this but never my parents. I decided they should be allowed to die without hearing about this.”

She concludes by writing, “I hope I will succeed in getting rid of the shame, now, 60 years later, when I finally manage to write about this experience, without which I truly would have liked to be at the age of nine.”

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