Fox News made the claim that Sweden has seen a rather absurd hike in the instance of rape thanks to a large influx of refugees seeking asylum from war-torn Syria. The way Fox News spins it, Sweden, a nation with one of the lowest homicide rates in the world, is a hotspot for getting raped if you happen to be a female. Let’s poke some holes in that argument, shall we?
An interesting aspect comes in changes to how Sweden reports and encourages its citizenry to report crimes. According to Nation Master, a website specializing in nation to nation comparisons:
Sweden enjoys a safe environment with one of the smallest homicide rates in the world. In fact, in the entire EU community, Sweden ranks among the top countries with the least reported homicide cases. In regard to the totality of crimes, Swedish official statistical crime count indicates a significant increase in crime rates since the 1950s. This does not mean, however, that actual crime jumped, official research suggests that crime reporting by the population has caused the sharp spike in the number of reported crimes.
We can also look to this explanation from the BBC regarding Sweden’s policies on crime reporting and the fallacy of journalists making statistical comparisons with only a facile understanding of that nation’s laws and reporting policies.
“Comparing crime rates across countries is fraught with difficulties – this is well-known among criminologists and statisticians, less so among journalists and commentators.”
“Sweden has the highest rape rate in Europe, author Naomi Wolf said on the BBC’s Newsnight programme recently. She was commenting on the case of Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder who is fighting extradition from the UK to Sweden over rape and sexual assault allegations that he denies.”
“Is it true? Yes. The Swedish police recorded the highest number of offences – about 63 per 100,000 inhabitants – of any force in Europe, in 2010. The second-highest in the world.”
“This was three times higher than the number of cases in the same year in Sweden’s next-door neighbour, Norway, and twice the rate in the United States and the UK. It was more than 30 times the number in India, which recorded about two offences per 100,000 people.”
Boy, Sweden sounds like a pretty dangerous place to live. Until you realize that nobody in Sweden has ever been raped and murdered by a multitude of men while traveling on a public bus like in India.
“In Sweden there has been this ambition explicitly to record every case of sexual violence separately, to make it visible in the statistics,” says Klara Selin, a sociologist at the National Council for Crime Prevention in Stockholm.”But the major explanation is partly that people go to the police more often, but also the fact that in 2005 there has been reform in the sex crime legislation, which made the legal definition of rape much wider than before,” she says.
So Sweden encourages its citizens to come forward and report these crimes.
Now let’s talk about the U.S for a second, a nation that tends to demonize victims and where, if you’re rich and white enough, you may even have your charge deferred.
Now according to Time Magazine:
“The [Centers For Disease Control] estimates that nearly 2 million adult American women were raped in 2011 and nearly 6.7 million suffered some other form of sexual violence, the [National Crime Victimization Survey] estimate for that year was 238,000 rapes and sexual assaults.”
That is a massive discrepancy between the two agencies. 656 out of 1000 rapes that occur in the US go unreported and are hence not part of the official statistic concerning rapes per capita in the U.S. Looks like one nation is trying to hide its rape culture while another is trying to expose it and crush it under its friendly boot heel.
Now to get a better understanding of how the Swedes feel about this report from Fox News, we reached out to a Swedish friend of American News X and self-described IT minion working in infrastructure, Mats Nordstrom.
James Stahl: “Have you noticed any spike in rape or any other crime since your country generously helped so many seeking asylum?”
Mr. Nordstrom: “No, no spikes. But the rise in rape seen after 1985 is due to a change in the definition of rape.”
James Stahl: “Now Fox News also reported that refugees are not able to find work in your country. Is this true in your experience? And if so, are they living in poverty?”
Mr. Nordstrom: “BS. Yes, they are poorer, but that goes for Scandinavian immigrants too. And yes, they are overrepresented in the rape statistics, with a factor of 7, but that is most likely (and I’m citing BRÅ again) social factors. Good news is that the unemployment numbers in the segregated districts, and yes, there are such places, are sinking But it’s not like Fox News presents it. Not by far.”
Translated, BRÅ is an acronym for Sweden’s National Council for Crime Prevention.
So there are many facets to this but none really point to verifying Fox News’ allusions that Sweden is a Muslim rape pit where women live in complete fear.
Ann Coulter would have you believe otherwise.
Sweden "baffled" by Trump remarks. But they're also "baffled" by rape stats: Sweden: 77% of rapes committed Muslims. https://t.co/RRYNfT4ilu
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) February 20, 2017
However, she wasn’t about to escape the ire of another Swedish citizen, Carl Melin.
@AnnCoulter That is pure fake news. A neo-nazi-controlled website spreading false rumors.
— Carl Melin (@CarlMelin) February 20, 2017
And when a misinformed Coulter fan decided Carl didn’t know what he was talking about and needed to do more research?
— Carl Melin (@CarlMelin) February 20, 2017
I could feel the heat off that burn all the way across the pond. Well played, Mr. Melin.
As far as refugee unemployment, the Swedish government is working on initiatives to make a home for the people they have been able to help.
Utilizing Sync Accelerator, a recruitment agency helping startups connect with asylum seekers, Sana Abdullah was able to find a job in IT herself.
“There are a lot of people coming from Syria who are very talented and have a lot of experience especially in the field of IT. It’s good to use these qualifications and it will benefit Sweden too. I know a lot of people who want to work, not just learn the language,” she told The Local, an English-language Swedish reporting agency.
So no, Sweden isn’t a horrible place to live and you are not more likely to get raped there than in the U.S. You are just more likely to receive the support you need should you have to report it. The U.S could sure take a leaf out of that book.
(Featured image via screen grab)