Scenes from a Malmö music festival in summer of 2015… Left: Four young men surround and sexually assault a young woman. Right: Police arrests a suspect, as sexual assault victims cry in the background. The photographer reported that Swedish girls were sexually assaulted by groups of young men “of foreign background.”
Translation of the original text: Sverige: Sommarinferno av sexuella övergrepp
Translated by Maria Celander
- Almost all the perpetrators of sexual assaults who attacked in groups and who have been apprehended, are citizens of Afghanistan, Eritrea, and Somalia — three of the four largest immigrant groups in Sweden who fall into the category of “unaccompanied refugee children.”
- A few days later, it turned out that many of the perpetrators who sexually assaulted women at the “Putte i parken” music festival in Karlstad wore the “Don’t grope” bracelet.
- Many people were, therefore, aghast to learn that the organizers of the Trästocksfestivalen music festival in Skellefteå had decided to arrange free bus rides to the festival for the local “unaccompanied refugee children.” They claimed they were “proud to be the first music festival in Sweden that encourages a significant increase of newly arrived migrants in the audience.” By the time the Trästocksfestivalen ended, the police counted twelve reported sexual assaults.
- Apparently, Swedish girls and women should learn to live with being groped and raped — or leave the public space altogether. The latter seems quite in line with what Islamic sharia law prescribes
In the wake of the New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne, Germany, news broke in Sweden that a large number of sexual assaults against girls and women had occurred at the music festival “We Are Sthlm” [short for Stockholm] in both 2014 and 2015, but had been covered up by both the police and the media. The National Police Commissioner, Dan Eliasson, immediately launched an investigation to find out the scope of the problem.
The results were presented in May, in a report, “The current situation regarding sexual assault and proposals for action” — and the conclusions are frightening. Almost all the perpetrators who attacked in groups and who have been apprehended, are citizens of Afghanistan, Eritrea, and Somalia — three of the four largest immigrant groups in Sweden who fall into the category of “unaccompanied refugee children.”
The Police’s Department of National Operations (NOA) began their report by going through all the sexual assaults at music festivals, street carnivals or New Year’s Eve celebrations that have been reported to the police:
“The complaints filed in 2015 and 2016 showed that girls aged 14-15 were the most vulnerable. The attacks have been perceived differently, depending on the [offender’s] modus operandi, but information given in the complaints clearly shows that several of the girls attacked have understandably been devastated and very ‘shaky after the incident took place.’ Especially shocking and frightening were those attacks carried out by a group, where the victim was not just held down and ‘groped’, but where the attackers also tried to rip the girl’s clothes off.
“Most of the attacks were carried out by single perpetrators. In most cases, the attack was carried out in crowded places, from behind, and the perpetrator put his hands under the victim’s trousers or under her blouse/sweatshirt and tried to kiss her and hold her down. Due to the struggle to get loose or because the attack happened from behind, it has often been difficult to get a good enough physical description of the suspect to get a positive identification later. In many cases, the victims were standing in an audience in front of a stage, making their way to their friends through a crowd, or standing around with one or more friends when they were attacked.”
At least ten cases pertain to so-called taharrush gamea [Arabic for “collective harassment”] — where men in groups choose a victim and attack her together. The report quotes Senni Jyrkiäinen, a scholar at the University of Helsinki, who studies gender relations in Egypt: “Taharrush is Arabic for harassment. If you add ‘el-ginsy’ (or just ginsy) that means sexual harassment and the word ‘gamea’ means ‘group’.”
The police report describes the phenomenon like this:
“In at least ten cases, a lone girl, sometimes around 14-16 years old, sometimes 25-30, was surrounded by several men (from 5-6 up to a large number). In these cases, some of the men held the girl down, while others groped her breasts and body, and in one case some of the men photographed the attack. In some cases, the perpetrators unbuttoned the girl’s pants and tried — in some cases succeeded — to pull them down before help arrived. There were also cases where several girls who were part of a group were attacked at the same time by a large gang.
“A few suspects have been identified. Those identified are citizens of Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia. All investigations into cases in Stockholm and Kalmar from 2014 and 2015 were dropped due to lack of evidence or problems with identifying suspects.”
The police quote from several of the complaints filed:
- A 16-year-old girl was attacked by a large number of males described as “foreign and speaking bad Swedish”, who tried to rip her clothes off. Some of the attackers photographed the incident. The girl was on her way home from a party together with her boyfriend when she was attacked. The boyfriend witnessed the incident.
- Two girls were attacked by a gang of 10-20 men of “African descent”, aged 15-20.
- An attack against a girl in a park went from sexual harassment to a full-fledged rape, committed by a group of men. The men and the girl had attended the same party, and the perpetrators followed her when she left.
- A 12-year-old girl was attacked, and the following description of the attackers was given: “Four men aged 20-25, who looked Arabic and spoke a foreign language, possibly Arabic, between themselves.” A young man passing by intervened and was beaten up.
- A girl stated that she went into the bushes to urinate, and was sexually attacked by 12 perpetrators. The suspects also stole the victim’s wallet. “The sexual assault consisted of an unknown assailant grabbing the victim’s buttocks, among other things.”
- A 17-year-old girl left a mall and was stalked and stopped by three “African guys” who attacked her by squeezing her buttocks so hard her pants ripped.
- A 13-year-old girl who is in a special education class was approached by “4-5 foreign guys” who spoke Swedish with an accent. The grabbed her one at a time “in places she did not like, such as her buttocks and her breasts.”
- When a girl was waiting for a train, she was surrounded by six youths aged about 15-17, of “foreign descent.” They poked her and spoke obscenely and threatened her in Swedish. When the train came, they discontinued the attack.
- A girl encountered a group of about 10 men aged around 18-20. Four of the men grabbed her sweater and held her by the arm, while three others touched her body and breasts. She screamed for help and tried to resist them, begging them to stop, to no avail. She finally managed to break free.
- A girl was harassed with foul language on a train, by a group of nine men, around 25 years old, who tried to block her way when she got off the train. None of the men spoke Swedish, the victim said in her complaint, “They may have been from Afghanistan.”
- A girl was surrounded on a train by eight men who had gotten on at the same time. Two of the men started touching her thighs and groping her private parts. She finally took out a can of pepper spray, and the attackers moved away. All the attackers were over 25 years old and of foreign descent.
When it comes to sexual assaults at public swimming pools, the report states that there were 123 reports of such incidents in 2015. 86% of the suspects were younger than 20 years old; most were around 15-16:
“In 80% of the reported cases from public pools, the perpetrators claimed to be or were found to be of foreign descent. Most had no Swedish social security number and the complaints stated that they belonged to groups of boys seeking asylum.”
The clear and frightening facts stated by the police report, however, have not left even the tiniest impression on Swedish public debate. Feminists still talk about “men” committing sexual assaults. In January, for example, Karen Austin, former head of a government work group on young men and violence, wrote an article on Swedish public television’s debate website on why culture and religion have (almost) no significance when it comes to sexual assaults.
“Do Swedish men have a better set of chromosomes than the rest of the world’s men?”, she asked rhetorically.
Barbro Sörman, chairperson for the Left Party in Stockholm, wrote on Twitter in early July that it is actually worse when Swedish men rape than when foreign men do:
“The Swedish men who rape do it despite having grown up with gender equality. They make an active choice. That is worse IMO [in my opinion].”
Sörman later regretted her tweet, but maintained that Swedish men must be scrutinized equally:
“You need to look at what makes you choose not to be equal and commit abuse in our society, despite us being equal.”
After National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson read the report he had ordered, on June 28 he came up with a “solution” that made Swedes gasp: a bracelet with the words “Don’t grope” printed on it. Eliasson explained the initiative, saying:
“The police take sexual assaults very seriously, especially when young people are involved. This crime is of course extremely offensive, and all of society needs to work against it. [With the bracelets] we can turn a spotlight on this issue and encourage those affected to report the crime.”
A few days later, it turned out that many of the perpetrators who sexually assaulted women at the “Putte i parken” music festival in Karlstad wore the “Don’t grope” bracelet. It was the same story at the Bråvalla festival. Lisen Andréasson Florman, the operations manager for the non-profit organization, Night Shift (Nattskiftet), had 50 volunteers patrolling the grounds of the Bråvalla festival every night. Despite this, Florman herself was attacked. She told the Swedish news agency, TT, that she was surrounded by three men who acted “totally disgusting.”
“And these three men had those ‘don’t grope’ bracelets on. It was completely surreal.”
And so it goes. The sexual assaults at this summer’s music festivals have come one after another. Many people were, therefore, aghast to learn that the organizers of the Trästocksfestivalen music festival in Skellefteå had decided to arrange free bus rides to the festival for the local “unaccompanied refugee children.”
However, festival chief Nils Andrén could not understand the criticism against the free buses at all, and stated that the festival’s motto is “accessibility”, and that it might seem expensive to new arrivals to pay for a bus ride to the festival themselves. Apart from offering free bus rides, the organizers also printed up posters advertising the festival in Persian, Arabic, and Tigrinya. They claimed they were “proud to be the first music festival in Sweden that encourages a significant increase of newly arrived migrants in the audience.”
By the time the Trästocksfestivalen ended, the police counted twelve reported sexual assaults.
The police concluded the report by suggesting various measures to prevent and investigate sexual assaults involving young people at public gatherings. The suggestions are painted in broad strokes:
- Preventive work through situational crime prevention.
- Build a strong foundation for cooperation between municipalities/organizers.
- Implement a recurring model for cooperation regarding the delegation of actions and responsibility.
- Direct measures according to cause analysis.
- Establishing “joint contact centers” during public events.
- Make a correct analysis of the situation in time.
- Take the first steps towards bringing responsible parties to justice by having investigators on the scene.
- Legal investigation to establish if new criminal modes of operation constitute aggravating circumstances.
Nowhere in the report do the investigators suggest that politicians should take steps to ensure that Sweden accepts fewer asylum seekers from the countries where taharrush gamea is commonplace. Apparently, Swedish girls and women should learn to live with being groped and raped — or leave the public space altogether. The latter seems quite in line with what Islamic sharia law prescribes.