SHARE
COPY LINK

SEX

Sweden opens world’s first male rape centre

A hospital in Stockholm is understood to be first in the world to set up an emergency department specifically for male rape victims. The clinic at Södersjukhuset opened on Thursday as part of a strategy to ensure "gender equal" patient care.

Sweden opens world's first male rape centre
Södersjukhuset, southern Stockholm's main hospital where the clinic will be. Photo: Tomas Oneberg/TT
Södersjukhuset already runs a round-the-clock walk-in clinic for women and girls who have been sexually assaulted in the city, treating between 600 and 700 patients a year. Now, the hospital, which hosts the largest emergency care unit in the Nordic region, is opening its doors to men and boys who are victims of rape and sex attacks.
 
“We are happy that we now can finally open the first rape clinic for men following the rape clinic for women,” Rasmus Jonlund, a press spokesperson for the Liberal Party, which led the campaign for the department in the Swedish capital, told The Local just ahead of the launch.
 
“It is the first in Sweden (…) We think it is the first in the world. We haven't found another from our research on the world wide web,” he added.
 
The opening was also celebrated by the Liberal Party's centre-right Alliance partners in Stockholm City Council; the Moderates, which are the largest group in the capital's coalition, the Christan Democrats and the Centre Party.
 
“Emergency medical care for raped men will be free of charge, and offered around the clock, all year,” said Marie Ljungberg Schött, a local Moderate Party party politician and council representative on emergency care in a statement.
 
“So far there has been no specific place for men who are victims of rape to turn to. Therefore we in the Alliance have decided to change this.”
 
In 2014, some 370 cases of sexual assault on men or boys were reported across Sweden, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, although experts believe that the actual figure is much higher.
 
“We don't know how many people will use it (…) but we know that there are many who experience these kinds of assaults but don't currently seek care,” said Jonlund.
 
“Our hope now is that many more of these hidden victims will also be able to get help now.”
 

Södersjukhuset is southern Stockholm's main hospital. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson/TT
 
Sweden has the highest rape rate in Europe, a statistic that gained global prominence in 2010, when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was first accused of sex crimes in the Nordic nation, allegations which he still strongly denies.
 
However this is partly because the country records allegations in a different way to most other countries, tracking each case of sexual violence separately. So for example if someone says they were raped by a partner every day for a fortnight, officers will record 14 potential crimes. Elsewhere, many countries would log the claim as a single incident.
 
Nevertheless, the nation's high statistics have made rape a matter of high level political debate in recent years.
 
In 2014, a study by sexual education organization RFSU suggested that in most municipalities across Sweden, men were uncertain where they could get emergency help following a rape.
 
Inger Björklund, a spokesperson for the group told The Local in June that it was looking forward to the opening of Stockholm's new facility.
 
“There are myths about masculinity that make it difficult for men who have been sexually traumatized to talk about their experiences,” she said.
 
“A clinic focusing on men who have been sexually abused will contribute to the awareness of experiences of sexual abuse among men and make it more possible to meet men's needs.”
 
Jonlund said on Thursday that he hoped the new clinic in Stockholm would also be able to “spread the knowledge” aquired by its efforts, in order to help other medical centres provide the best care possible for male victims. 
 
He also argued it was essential that work also continued to prevent rapes happening across Sweden.
 
“Men shouldn't have to come to this kind of clinic at all,” he said.

CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

SHOW COMMENTS