The three festivals that have hit the headlines this summer over a spate of sexual assaults, groping and rapes are the Bråvalla festival in Norrköping, Putte i Parken in Karlstad and Peace & Love in Borlänge.
Police are still investigating the alleged offences, but say the number of reports has increased this year.
“It has not been at a very large scale before, but it has been enormous now,” Leif Nyström of the Värmland police region, where Putte i Parken was organized, told the TT newswire.
Calls are now being raised for festivals to step up their security and safety measures. But Niclas Lagerstam, who is one of the people behind the Putte i Parken festival, deflected criticism.
“Schools and libraries, should you close them too because there's sexual harassment there? This is not a festival problem, it's a societal problem. We have worked to get girls to report it if something happens. I think more girls are doing that now and that's good,” he told TT.
Meanwhile the Kulturkalaset festival in Gothenburg said last week that it was considering creating “only-female safety zones” for its event, which takes place in August, as a last resort.
The incidents have also stirred debate about Sweden's rape laws, which many campaigners argue should be changed to include a sexual consent clause to cut the number of acquittals. A similar proposal is expected to be presented in a government inquiry this autumn.
“Legislation is there to give the right signals. Together with information campaigns it could hopefully lead to fewer sexual crimes,” said criminal law professor Madeleine Leijonhufvud.
However, Bengt Ivarsson, the chairman of Advokatsamfundet told TT that he believed the symbolical value of such legislation would have little effect.
“A consent law would not change anything about what's happened at these festivals. It is pretty obvious that when a guy comes at a girl from behind it's not about consent.”
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