The teen that dared to speak out against young Swedes' sex crimes
Published: 05 Dec 2013 14:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Dec 2013 14:59 GMT+01:00
Fed up with the spiral of sex crimes among young Swedes, high school student Mårten Gasslander, 18, wrote an op-ed about the responsibility of assailants - and society. Our Swede of the Week warned of a generation of "gloomy girls and desensitized boys".
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"I don't want to moralize. It's a good thing that young people are avaricious and feel freedom in their sexuality, but I also see the downsides," Gasslander told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper on Wednesday. "There's an almost consumer view on sex and an absence of emotional commitment."
The comments came on the heels of a letter to the editor published on Monday in DN in which the high school student vividly voiced his dismay and worry about the number of rape and gang-rape cases recently that saw young men walk free.
"Your daughter is raped. She is gang raped. Your daughter's face is pressed down into the white sheets. Raped.
"The assailants protest during police interrogations. The boys are three years older than your daughter. You get access to the police investigation notes. You read their testimony. Of course they will be convicted.
"You will get redemption, absolutely.
"Your daughter is called in for questioning.
"The boys are let go."
Gasslander continued his op-ed by detailing his anger at not only the judiciary system, but at society at large.
"We live in a society that constantly reminds girls that this is okay. We live in a society where boys are excused because they are boys," he wrote.
"I'm an 18-year-old high-school student and I'm really fed up with this shit."
Gasslander's letter created waves, being shared thousands of times on social media. By the end of the week, it was still among the most read articles on DN's website.
As his op-ed spread like wild-fire, Gasslander took the opportunity to explain that he disliked the focus on the young girls, especially during the police investigation and trial. He called the focus on the girls' behaviour "baroque".
"We have to talk about the boys' behaviour," he told DN. "It's difficult to understand, but I think it has a lot to do with background, how they are raised, their view of women, and peer pressure."
He also tied the recent raft of warnings about teens' increasingly detached attitude to sex and lack of understanding to what constitutes a sex crime to young Swedes seeking to find themselves through sex.
"I think a lot of this is about both girls and boys looking for their identity and also seeking affirmation through sex," he said. "But it's derailed and gone too far."
Editor's Note: The Local's Swede of the Week is someone in the news who - for good or ill - has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Swede of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.