• Sweden's news in English
 

Genital mutilation claims probed in Sweden

Published: 30 Jun 2014 14:40 GMT+02:00

Since Midsummer, a school in Norrköping has made global news for discovering scores of school girls who had suffered female genital mutilation (FGM). 

Now it's making rounds again thanks to apparently misleading information that made it into the original story by local paper Norrköpings Tidning (NT).

The paper reported that 60 mutilated girls had been discovered at a school, and that 30 of them were in the same class. But new accounts revealed that the girls were not in one class, but rather in a temporary working group put together for the purpose of the study.

"What does it really matter?" Annica Hesser, the journalist who wrote the original article, wondered. "Thirty girls who have been mutilated is just as many no matter where they are sitting. The suffering is the same." 

Some newspapers had also incorrectly reported that the girls had been born and raised in Sweden - which was not written in the original report, Norrköpings Tidning claimed. The paper has now clarified that many of the girls may be first-generation immigrants, although no official statistics have been released on that point. 

In Sweden FGM is a serious crime which can give sentences of up to ten years in prison. All forms of genital mutilation have been illegal in Sweden since 1982.  Fifteen years ago the law was updated so that genital mutilation was punishable in Sweden even if the act occurred abroad. 

Social services in Norrköping have concluded that all discovered instances of FGM in the school occurred before the families migrated to Sweden. However, perpetrators can still be charged in certain instances even if the act occurred before moving to Sweden, for example if they plan on moving to Sweden and are aware of the law. 

"The important thing in this case is what connection the family had to Sweden before the crime occurred. It can happen that someone plans to move to Sweden and that a relative here informs them of this law, and so they carry out the mutilation right before they come to Sweden," Marie Kronqvist Berg, Norrköping district prosecutor, told the NT paper. 

Parents can be punished even if they did not have strong ties to Sweden at the time, but simply lived in a different country where FGM is not accepted. Swedish law states that in such cases the "parents should therefore understood the crime's reprehensibility". 

However, no crime is suspected in the case of the 60 girls in Norrköping.

"Our focus is just to take care of these girls now," said student health manager Ann-Christine Johansson. "On the other hand, if we discover instances where girls are operated on summer vacation in other countries, then we report it to social services."

Anissa Mohammed Hassan, a public relations officer in Östergötland, told the paper she is aware of families in Sweden who have taken their daughters abroad to get the surgery. Hassan herself suffered from FGM, and shocked other Somali mothers when she said her daughter would never undergo the operation.

"We don't know what happens behind closed doors," Hassan said. "But in such an open country like Sweden, genital mutilation can be the only way for parents to control their girls. The law doesn't scare people since nobody checks." 

Hassan's suggestion is that schools perform mandatory examinations on young girls. Checkups on boys' testicles when they are seven years old is standard, and Hassan said the same should be true for girls. "It should be as natural as getting your sight and hearing checked."

Even though the law has been in place for over 30 years, there have only been two cases in which FGM has led to perpetrators being sentenced in Sweden. 

For more stories about Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter

The Local/sr (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Local investigates
Brits in Sweden face NHS access clampdown
British Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to a British hospital in Whitby, England earlier this month. Photo: TT

Brits in Sweden face NHS access clampdown

UPDATED: British people living in Sweden and other EU countries could find themselves forced to take out private health insurance, due to a fresh clampdown on expats using the UK's National Health Service. READ  

Sweden passport ranked most powerful in world
A Swedish passport issued in 2014. Photo: TT

Sweden passport ranked most powerful in world

UPDATED: Having a Swedish passport in your pocket when you go abroad is more beneficial than having travel identification from any other country in the world, according to a new study. READ  

Neo-Nazis spread unrest at school Holocaust talk
Members of a Swedish neo-Nazi group at another demonstration. Photo: Fredrik Persson/SCANPIX

Neo-Nazis spread unrest at school Holocaust talk

A group of neo-Nazis marched into a school and took pictures of the audience during a lecture by a Holocaust survivor in Varberg in southern Sweden. READ  

Sweden's Eriksson joins England foreigner row
Sven-Göran Eriksson at a press conference in Shanghai last year. Photo: TT

Sweden's Eriksson joins England foreigner row

Former England manager, Sweden's Sven-Göran Eriksson has said he supports proposals to limit the number of foreign players allowed to play for football teams in England, even if that means fewer Swedish stars joining the Premier League. READ  

First Swedish spring strawberries at auction
Swedish strawberries snapped in 2014. Photo: TT

First Swedish spring strawberries at auction

Sweden's annual strawberry crop contest has a winner, with Lars Jacobsen from Skåne in southern Sweden the first to produce the fresh fruits in 2015. READ  

Opinion
'Security Council needs Sweden's soft power'
The Swedish government is lobbying for a seat on the UN Security Council. Photo: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

'Security Council needs Sweden's soft power'

Sweden is needed on the United Nations Security Council, but it should not forget its soft power values as it lobbies for a seat, Aleksander Gabelic, chairman of the UN Association of Sweden writes in this week's debate article. READ  

'Sabotage' sparks train chaos for commuters
Train commuters waiting at Solna rail station north of Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

'Sabotage' sparks train chaos for commuters

Swedish police were investigating suspected sabotage on Tuesday after more than ten thousand passengers were left stranded across Sweden amid train chaos on several lines. A signalling fault was behind some of the problems in the capital. READ  

Migrant boat tragedy
Swedish government split on embassy asylum
People look on as survivors of this weekend's shipwreck are carried off a coastguard boat. Photo: AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi

Swedish government split on embassy asylum

The devastating shipwreck disaster in the Mediterranean has put the question of allowing EU embassies to process asylum applications back on the table, as the UN upped the death toll to 800 in the latest tragedy. But the Swedish coalition government remains divided on the issue. READ  

Sweden builds future as EU construction falls
Sweden's Prime Minister (centre) and Green Party co-leader Åsa Romsen. Photo:TT

Sweden builds future as EU construction falls

The building industry in Sweden is experiencing a boom as the country's housing crisis continues, bucking the trend for a dip in construction across the EU. READ  

No charges after 'attack' at Swedish rail station
A screenshot of the controversial incident from YouTube.

No charges after 'attack' at Swedish rail station

Two police security guards filmed having a controversial altercation with a refugee child at Malmö train station in southern Sweden in February will not face charges. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
National
Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea
National
Get set for a sunny week in Sweden
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
"You may only do something once, but do it 100%"
Blog updates

17 April

Editor’s blog, April 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, After several days of social media buzz about an upcoming announcement from Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus,..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Syria claims ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders are Scandinavian
Gallery
People-watching: April 18th
National
Swedish researchers pore over link between coffee and cancer
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: April 15th
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hovås, Gothenburg
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
Would you live in a steel box?
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Gallery
People-watching: April 8th
National
Swedish bids for Billboard fame
National
Swedish monkeys denied Saudi visas
National
Sunny spring weather predicted
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Why are expats less likely to settle down with Swedes?
Sport
What does Sweden think of Zlatan's recent outburst?
Society
Get to grips with Sweden's most bizarre Easter traditions
Gallery
People-watching: April 1st
National
The Local's best April Fools' gags
National
US spy agency to feature in new 'Stieg Larsson' book sequel
National
Beaver bite at Swedish bus stop
Gallery
Property of the week: Åreda
National
How this Syrian travelled to Sweden
Was Swedish TV host too harsh on nationalist leader Åkesson?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Scandinavian airlines change cockpit rules after Germanwings crash
National
Sweden remembers Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer
Politics
Why petrol prices are going up
Gallery
People-watching: March 28th
Stieg Larsson's partner blasts Millennium trilogy sequel
Society
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Gallery
People-watching: March 25th
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
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

3,351
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se