From a legal perspective, the crime is a serious one, but despite the fact that many young people in Sweden have been the victims of “face rape”, police don’t receive many reports about the crime.
“A huge number of our young people have been victims of this, but many probably don’t realize that they can report it,” Anders Ahlqvist, an IT-expert with the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen), told the TT news agency.
“Face rape” can be seen as another name for computer hacking, a crime which is punishable by fines or up to two years in prison.
And it’s a very common crime.
According to a report released last year by the Swedish Data Protection Board (Datainspektionen), around half of young Swedish Facebook users have had their accounts hacked by someone who then has written mocking or insulting remarks in the victim’s name.
“There are probably a huge number of unreported cases. Some may be ashamed, as some of the things people write aren’t so pleasant so they may just want to keep quiet about it,” Göran Eriksson, an investigator with police in Norrköping, told TT.
Another reason why young victims of “face rape” don’t report the crime to police may have to do with their attitudes toward the internet and the fact that neither the perpetrators nor the victims understand that “face rape” is a criminal act.
“Many have a hard time understanding that the same rules apply on the internet that apply in real life. Language is used differently online than what you would hear in the schoolyard, for example,” said Ahlqvist.