Sexual harassment rife in Swedish parliament – MPs

Sexual harassment is commonplace in Sweden's parliament, according to a survey of current parliamentarians published on Sunday.

Over half of the members of parliament interviewed for the poll, which was carried out by Sifo on behalf of Aftonbladet, said that they believe sexual harassment takes place in parliament. Only 41 percent said that they did not believe it occurred.

Many of the 168 people interviewed said they would prefer to remain anonymous, but Social Democrat Margareta Israelsson described how a colleague once “groped her in the debating chamber”.

“I was young and quite new and didn’t do anything about it,” the 52 year old told Aftonbladet.

“I remember that I took his jacket sleeve and lifted his hand up onto the bench. I just wanted to get away from there as quickly as possible.”

One member of parliament who spoke to the paper on condition of confidentiality said that despite the fact that many people know about what goes on, nothing ever happens to prevent it:

“There are several old blokes in heavyweight positions on different committees who are known for coming on to young attractive women who are new here.”