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Swedish site urges people to talk about sex

Vivian Tse · 23 Dec 2010, 11:29

Published: 23 Dec 2010 11:29 GMT+01:00

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Koljonen, who hosts the cultural programme P3 Kultur on Sveriges Radio on Sundays, recently tweeted about a negative sexual experience that she had encountered, which prompted an outpouring on Twitter with the hashtags #prataomdet and #talkaboutit.

The response culminated in the creation of the website Prata om det, which has also attracted commentary in English.

"I'm very happy it happened. It's obvious many have waited for this kind of reaction. Hundreds have followed her and continue to speak about something we don't usually speak about," Sandra Dahlén, an expert on sexuality and gender, told The Local on Thursday.

In addition to addressing rape, the site also encourages participants, including men, to speak out about boundaries and grey areas.

"In Swedish society, we do talk about about rape, but rape is considered something so violent and obscure, that no one really has any experience of it," said Dahlén.

"The everyday situations that women go through, where there is no consent, no one says anything, isn't considered rape. The thought of rape is something very violent that happens in a dark alley when someone attacks you. We must speak more about other situations that come up," she added.

In addition to many situations that arise that are not considered rape by law, Dahlén pointed out that women may not consider certain incidents rape.

"The law calls it a rape, but they don't consider it a rape. Women believe they can't be raped by a boyfriend, friend, or husband, that it must a stranger attacking her outside for it to be considered a rape," she explained.

The site is attracting global response in light of conflicting reports and a backlash against what is perceived as Sweden's open-ended and overtly feminist rape laws.

Among the more vocal criticisms was a blog post from controversial American film director Michael Moore last Thursday. Moore, one of Assange's most outspoken supporters who has put up bail money for Assange, called Sweden a safe haven for thousands of Swedish rapists.

Dr. Anu Koivunen, associate professor in the department of cinema studies at Stockholm University, sees parallels in the way social media was used in the creation of the site.

"In some sense, it is a reaction against harassment against the two women who filed a complaint against Julian Assange, using the same media and force of social media to participate in the discussion," she said.

"The talk of sexuality and intimacy brings it scandal value, while the names give it authenticity where one could ask, 'Could I be involved in a similar negative sexual experience?'" she told The Local.

Although the attention on the Assange case triggered the response, Koivunen believed that the discussion managed to distance itself from the WikiLeaks founder right away.

Story continues below…

"Last Tuesday, when it started on Twitter, it moved away from Julian Assange right away. The whole phenomenon has parallel tracks, one track ties it in with him, another track is not interested in Julian Assange at all," she said.

"It is about the ethics of sexual citizenship, what kind of responsibilities one has. Discussing sexuality is a complex issue. There is a genuine desire to talk about it outside of Julian Assange," she added.

Koivunen pointed that there is a certain amount of space in the Swedish public sphere for public debate about negative and troublesome sexual experiences

"There is a need to talk about it for real. Julian Assange is not dependent on it. He couldn't account for this big urge for revelatory confessions in the public sphere. talkaboutit opens up a space to discuss sex in a manner that is different from the discourse invited by Sex and the City or 'sex as commodity,'" she said.

"It is interesting to see how people are discussing this, feminists, anti-feminists, straight, queer. It's a real mix who finds this talk about sex and consent important," she added.

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Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:41 December 23, 2010 by Nemesis
Sweden is a haven for rapists.

Anyone not recognising that as fact, needs there head looked at.
14:03 December 23, 2010 by Swedesmith
Is this another form of oral sex?
15:21 December 23, 2010 by Kaethar
@Nemisis: Rape or coercion is a very difficult crime to prove in court. Sweden has very high reported rates of rape since rape is defined in Sweden as not giving consent. A boyfriend and girlfriend are having sex. She says stop but he keeps on going. Such a crime is more likely to be reported in Sweden than abroad. That's all these stats tell us. :)
15:32 December 23, 2010 by Nemesis
@ Kaethar,

Someone tried to rape me right in front of my local police station, fracturing my leg in the process. I barely fought the psycho nut of.

The police then sent me a letter stating there was no evidence that anything happened. They interviewed me in hospital as I was getting the plastercast on my leg.

I will never goto the police again. If I have a problem I will deal with it myself.
15:51 December 23, 2010 by lungfish
I've had bad experiences too, some of which would count in Sweden as criminal sexual offenses. I am a man and some of these experiences have been created by women. I will not go into details, and generally it has been with people who I have loved and/or still do love. I have no desire to bring the powers of the state down upon these people.

There is a large gray zone between what are clear cases of rape and sexual assault at one end and unfortunate experiments, surprising bad chemistry, etc. at the other. It is certainly the case in Sweden that the state assumes a greater right of judgment within this gray zone than in many other countries. At least, in cases when the perceived victim is a woman.

One might say that's just the way it is in Sweden, but it's very disturbing that the EU allows this local morality to be exported without question in the form of extradition requests within the EU in general. It creates a situation in which one may be found guilty by the sum of all laws within the EU. European citizens are therefore subjected to maximum legal proscription, NOT maximum provision of innocence.
16:52 December 23, 2010 by Swedesmith

Always the one to be the wisearse, I didn't mean to make light of your experience. Here in the US, many states allow for concealed carry of a firearm. Your case would have been the perfect example of why this is a good idea. Unfortunately, the state we live in does not allow this so I bought my wife and daughters some pepper spray.

I understand Sweden does not allow this, either. Pity. They do sell these wonderful little carpenter knives at all the hardware stores, however.

It would be quite the status symbol to have a necklace adorned with the petrified peckers of attempted rapists.
17:49 December 23, 2010 by Tomexpat
I don't get it. How can anybody "talk about it" on Twitter when the site limits any tweet to 140 characters? I tried to check it out myself. All I found was a lot of tweets that some woman created a 2 minute You Tube about "talkaboutit". All the video said was that we should "talkaboutit". So OK. What is it that people need to talk about in such brevity? Does anybody think that rape is acceptable? DIdn't think so...so what are people going to say in 140 characters that's meaningful? Talk about a big let down and a big nothing.
22:42 December 23, 2010 by dizzymoe33
If you say "no" to someone and they continue to force themselves on you whether it is a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, stranger it is considered rape in our country(USA). There should be no tolerence for this kind of behavior from anyone male or female. And yes there are men out there that have been raped also they just don't report it as often as women do. Which is a shame because it is a crime.
00:25 December 24, 2010 by OnessOfMankind
A bad sexual experience is something personal and something that happened free willed.

but rape is not supposed to be discussed online because they would only hurt themselves.

Not even visit a psychologist...because all they want is money and they forget your name after you leave.

best way is to visit forums as an anonym and talk about your experience and o fcourse your will get people who will comment in favor of rapists...

in Julians case its fake and crap and revenge it has nothing to do with rape its using the law for revenge or maybe paid by the big bully.
00:51 December 24, 2010 by nitrousox
People who know NOTHING about the CIA and the ways of the American inteligence community are the only ones who can believe any of this nonsense regarding Assange. The Swedish government is being used like a cheap prostitute to advance American sensorship, tyranny and imperialism.

At the same time Swedish and Europeans people can expect more of these "suicide bombings" as the CIA implements the AlQueida trick in Europe to submit the population to neo-feudalism.

People of Sweden: DISCIPLINE YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS NOW!! DO NOT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS ATTACK ON FREE PRESS OR YOU WILL WAKE UP ONE DAY LIVING THE DISGUSTING, SAD LIFE OF AMERICANS. No insurance, no disability, no pensions, no rule of law, no civil or human rights, no hope for your future generations. The wealthy elite use the botton 99% of the population like cattle: to be milked and slaughtered. Good luck!
06:29 December 24, 2010 by Kaethar
@Nemesis: Explains why you have the chip on your shoulder. Sorry, but it's true. And the police have a point - since you weren't raped and you didn't know the potential rapist this becomes a very low priority crime. They'll of course do some work (questioning witnesses - you) to see if they have anything to go by and if not they'll just drop the case. The police have limited resources and they can't simply put up a perimiter and question everyone in it (for example) for something they can't even confirm is a crime. If the evidence showed you had been raped I believe they would have done something like that however since jumped-in-alley rape is definitely taken seriously in Sweden. The police can't trust everyone blindly . Do you know how many people make up crimes? You could have hurt you leg another way. No point being bitter about something that's just standard protocol. :/
09:09 December 24, 2010 by niranjan61
Business means fraud. That-means nobody will like wikileaks. We common people will need leaks.Otherwise how we will know the fraud activity of so called these big. For example swiss is worlds largest banker of terrorist, criminals and tax evaders. Their system is full proof. Only wikileaks can penetrate, we know that.
11:20 December 24, 2010 by johnny1939
Most men are sensitive enought to take no for an answer but there are the kind of man that is very basic and lives under 3 rules 1. I am hungry. 2. I am thirsty. 3. I am horney. so ladies be very careful with whom you get involved with and do not invite strange men to your house to stay the night!!!
21:22 December 24, 2010 by wxman
Talk is cheap; actions speak much louder.
14:38 December 25, 2010 by Tomexpat
The best solution to avoid being falsely accused of rape like Julian Assange is to get a "SEX CONTRACT". There should be a one page document stating "I, ____, am freely engaging in sex with ______."

The document should also include the specific things that will be engaged in.

I am not so young anymore. I am seriously GOING TO DO IT. In fact I think it will be FUN. Less chance for disappointment. If the woman is not interested enough to sign the contract, then that tells me she's not interested enough in me. If not, I can just go the Czech Republic or Germany where I can have fun.

Only a complete fool or a guy who is totally desperate would have sex with a strange woman without getting something like this signed beforehand in Sweden.
06:39 December 26, 2010 by för30årseden
Boy! It really sounds like free sex is not working out in Sweden.

It sounds like if you want to have your fun, you ought to try old-fashioned monogamous marriage. And if you have any brains -- marry a woman who understands that marriage means sexual consent and likes it that way.

That way you wouldn't need all these websites about bad sex. Although I have a hunch that even marriage wouldn't work for Johanna Koljonen. Best just to avoid her.
19:10 December 28, 2010 by buckrogersday
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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