• 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
Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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

970
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