No Man’s Land

No Man’s Land: Sweden Unveils Girls-Only Festival to Avoid Rape

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Europe

12:31 03.08.2017(updated 12:34 03.08.2017) Get short URL

The sexual assaults and rapes that have plagued Swedish summer festivals for several years have spurred the authorities into action. A Swedish municipality is poised to arrange a “man-free” festival to avoid any harassment whatsoever, which goes against the grain of Sweden’s egalitarian, inclusive and gender-neutral ways, many argued.

 

© AFP 2017/ Anders WIKLUND / TT News Agency

Sweden Bracing for Another Record Year in ‘Festival Rapes’

 

Earlier this summer, comedian and program leader Emma Knyckare proposed arranging a festival without men amid a seemingly incessant wave of sexual assaults, which earned Sweden, which sees itself as having “the world’s first feminist government,” the unflattering moniker of “the rape capital of Europe.”

“What do you think of holding a super-cool festival where only non-men are welcome and keeping it up until ALL men have learned how to behave?” Emma Knyckare tweeted.

Shortly afterwards, Falkenberg Municipality in Halland County supported the radical feminist idea.

“I’ve always thought it’s an exciting idea,” Kristian Fannar of Falkenberg Municipality told the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.

By his own admission, Fannar contacted Knyckare and received an answer within only half an hour. According to him, it may be either an open-air or an urban-based festival.

Emma Knycker’s initiative spurred mixed reactions. While many celebrated the initiative as progressive and women-friendly, others gave it a hostile reception.

“So all men have suddenly become rapists? All of you women who subscribe to this, do you also think your boyfriends, brothers, dads and grandpas are also rapists? Maybe I shall add ‘rapist’ to my CV then,” a user wrote.

However, artist Linnea Henriksson, who keenly supports the idea, suggested than “man-free” festivals were imperative.

“It’s really sad that it’s needed,” Henriksson said, arguing that a girls-only event is a must for female visitors who want to be treated with respect.

Fittingly, 19-year-old Zara Larsson, Sweden’s arguably biggest pop idol of today, who is known for her overtly feminist stance, sparked a controversy earlier this year by openly admitting she was a “man hater.”

According to Eva-Maria Svensson, a professor of law at the University of Gothenburg, it is unacceptable of a municipality to arrange — or even support — a festival that specifically excludes half the population.

“A municipality shall treat all citizens equally. A municipality may not discriminate against a particular group,” Eva-Maria Svensson told the newspaper Göteborgs-Posten, citing the principle of equality that is universally applicable.

Furthermore, a festival where men are not welcome may face legal problems, as discrimination based on sex is illegal in Sweden.

“According to the Discrimination Act, it’s not allowed to treat women and men differently with regards to access to public places,” lawyer Eberhard Stüber told Swedish national broadcaster SVT. According to him, women’s prisons are an example of substantial reasons for special treatment, whereas organizing a festival does not constitute such.

Previously, Bråvalla festival, which markets itself as “Sweden’s biggest music festival” was canceled for 2018 following numerous reports of rapes and sexual assaults. This year alone, four rapes were recorded during the Bråvalla festival, together with 23 cases of sexual molestation, one case of sexual coercion, 13 assaults, 116 cases of minor narcotics offences and 97 thefts, police reported. The 2016 Bråvalla event witnessed the same problems. The organizers lamented their decision to cancel next year’s festival, blaming “certain men,” who “apparently cannot behave.”

All in all, about 20 rapes and 90 sexual assaults have been reported at Swedish summer festivals so far this year, with a unpredictably high number of unreported cases.

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About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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One Response to No Man’s Land

  1. This is incredibly sad and I hope the girls only festival does not take place as it is )pure and simple) discrimination to ban men from attending merely on the basis that a tiny minority of males sexually asault/rape women. Sweden holds itself up as a paragon of equality, while fining or imprisoning those who pay for sex (obviously different from rape). Rather than interfering with what consenting adults choose to do in private (whether money is exchanged or otherwise), one would have thought that the country should concentrate resources on tackling non-consensual sex, rather than pursuing iliberal bans on the purchase of sexual services. Kevin

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