• Sweden edition
 
Op-Ed
Nobody hates men as much as other men do
Kawa Zolfagary and an excerpt of a Swedish law text. Files: Private, TT

Nobody hates men as much as other men do

Published: 01 Apr 2014 09:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Apr 2014 09:05 GMT+02:00

Yet another court verdict in a rape case that sets the assailant free despite the assault being a fact. Again by saying that the man did not know what he was doing. 

There is a war on women in Sweden.

A 16-year-old boy threatens a 15-year-old to make her give another boy oral sex. He shoots her several times with an air gun, with several other young men present, and the Norrköping district court does not doubt the girl when she said felt forced. But no one was convicted. Because it could not be proven that the 16-year-old boy knew that the girl felt forced.

In other words, her feelings are irrelevant, as long as the young man assaulting her didn't understand her feelings.

I've lost count of all the examples when men have walked free simply because they are presumed dumb enough for their defence to hold:

"They didn't realize she was drunk."
"He didn't realize her no was meant seriously."
"The man didn't understand that consenting to one thing did not mean she consented to that other thing."

And so on...

Trial after trial, the rapist walks free because he didn't understand when he crossed the line. Barely a week goes by without another case and each time I, and many others, lose faith in the Swedish justice system. Now yet another verdict has been added to the already far too big pile.

What hurts the most, apart from the courts ignoring the woman's right to her own body, is the continued view of men as complete idiots. Lay judges, judges, and lawyers seem to think that men are totally incapable of understanding when consent has not been given.

In this latest case, a 16-year-old should understand that he has created a threatening situation when he shoots someone with a soft-air gun. In two years time, he will be an adult, he'll have the right to vote. He's almost already an adult. Sure, a lot can happen in those two years, but surely such fundamental knowledge should have been acquired before then?

What is very worrying with all these cases is how they affect whether people report assaults to the police. If you over and over see verdict after verdict where people walk free, you hardly want to go through the same thing yourself. It is not an unreasonable assumption that these verdicts contribute to concealing the real breadth of the problem.

It's already difficult to report assault to the police because you know you'll be treated like a suspect and have to endure offensive questions, like what clothes you were wearing.

Once you lose people's trust, it's difficult to get back. As it stands now, it's difficult to stop people from abandoning their faith in the Swedish justice system.

There are people who want to make the rape law stricter and get at the problem that way. But this is about more than the law.

We have to change our norms and attitudes, the ones that make it possible for a boy to threaten and force a girl to give oral sex, the same norms and attitudes that make the justice system disrespect a woman's right to her own body.  They are the norms and attitudes behind the assumption that men aren't capable of understanding when consent has not been given... that we are animals, that us men only act upon our most basic instincts without the capacity to read other people.

The strongest hatred of men I've ever seen comes from the patriarchy itself.

There's a name for this phenomenon, when a woman's clothes are interpreted as a yes to intercourse, where a man needs to understand that he is doing something wrong to be found guilty. This phenomenon that paints men as monster and women's bodies as public property. It's called rape culture. It's the number one weapon in the war on women. And it's a war where the men are also casualties. 

Writer Kawa Zolfagary founded the Violated White Men (Vita Kränkta Män) Facebook page where he collected tidbits of white men feeling violated, injured and/or insulted by, for example, too many immigrants on TV.

Vita Kränkta Män was later published in book format by Galago. 

Editors's note. The article was amended at 11:26am to clarify that the teen faced charges of sexual coercion.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Society
Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake
Ing-Marie Olofsson whose necklace was found. Photo: Private

Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake

A 66-year-old Swedish woman got the surprise of her life when a fisherman returned the necklace she dropped in a lake at the age of 14. READ  

International
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos

A British newspaper has apologised after a freelance journalist stole a Sweden's Next Top Model contestant's photo and created a fake Twitter account used to trick a UK minister. READ  

Sport
Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash
Photo: AP

Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash

Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes due to a nagging heel problem, the French club have confirmed. READ  

National
Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears
The Infection Clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: TT

Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears

A patient in a Stockholm hospital who was suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus was given the all clear on Tuesday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
A Jas Gripen. Photo: TT

New coalition agrees on defence and migration

UPDATED: The Green Party has committed itself to expanding Sweden's defence force, while the Social Democrats have compromised on work permits for migrants. READ  

National
Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden
The patient is being treated at the Karolinska University Hospital. Photo: TT

Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden

Doctors in Stockholm are checking a patient suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus. READ  

Elections 2014
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
Björn Söder. Photo: TT

Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot

Despite most Members of Parliament abstaining from voting, Sweden Democrat party secretary Björn Söder has been announced as one of Sweden's new Deputy Speakers. READ  

Music
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Swedish singer Tove Lo. Photo: TT

The five best Swedish songs of the month

The Local's resident music guru Paul Connolly is back with another selection of his favourite Swedish tracks. READ  

International
Swedish model in hiding after UK politician sting
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Swedish model in hiding after UK politician sting

A Swedish model whose photo was used in a British tabloid newspaper sting without her permission has described the incident as "something terrible". READ  

Society
Swedish artist has 'racist' show cancelled
Park's work Hang-on Afrobians. The Local has altered the image to hide the men's identities

Swedish artist has 'racist' show cancelled

Plans for works by controversial Swedish artist Dan Park to be shown in a secret location in Copenhagen have been shelved by the radio station that was behind the project. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Gallery
Property of the week - Torslanda
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

866
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN