As a direct result of Europe’s refugee crisis, new and very unpleasant social fractures have started to emerge.
One particularly troubling issue is the extent to which officials have tended to “blame the victim” in the ever more frequent sex attacks resulting from Europe’s refugee surge, something we first touched upon earlier this week. For instance, Cologne mayor Henriette Reker drew sharp criticism for suggesting that it was German womens’ duty to prevent assaults by keeping would-be assailants “at arm’s length.”
Then there was the now infamous case of the 17-year-old Danish girl who faced a fine from police after she allegedly used “illegal” pepper spray to deter an attacker.
In the most recent example of authorities suggesting that Europeans should adapt to threats rather than compelling authorities to protect citizens, police in Sweden’s Östersund advised women not to walk around by themselves at night, during at press conference on Monday.
As reported on Tuesday, “women in a town in northern Sweden have been warned not to walk alone at night in the wake of a spike in violent assaults and attempted rapes.
Police in the town of Östersund made the unusual move to ask women not to go out unaccompanied after dark, after reports of eight brutal attacks, some by ‘men of foreign appearance’, in just over two weeks.”
It is extremely unusual for Swedish authorities to make such warnings, and it has not been well received in Sweden, a country proud of its progress in gender equality and women’s rights.
All incidents have taken place in Östersund since the 20th of February, and involved outdoor attacks where the perpetrators have been unknown to their female victims. A police spokesperson added that in addition to the increased frequency, the attacks are also conspicuous as – despite being carried out late at night – none of the perpetrators were drunk.
The observation of “sober rapists” aside, the force’s recommendation that women should avoid being alone at night swiftly prompted criticism in Sweden, a nation that prides itself on promoting gender equality.
According to the Local, “The solution can never be to not go out because of such a warning. We have very many women who work in home and social care at night for example. What are they supposed to do?” the city’s mayor Ann-Sofie Andersson told Swedish broadcaster SVT.
“It’s wrong if it calls on women to adapt to the criminals. It risks leading people the wrong way, if the victims must adapt to the perpetrators,” he said.
There is another word for it: appeasement, and history is rife with examples of how appeasement results in an ever greater threat by the appeased party, in this case refugees who flood European countries as a result of Angela Merkel’s policies.
As the Mail reports, the infamous town of Östersund which is now a no-go zone for women after eight, has seen a surge in sex attacks in just the past three weeks. The most troubling recent examples:
- February 20: Two ten-year-old girls were groped by a group of adult men. Police say the men surrounded the girls at a bus station and started to touch them while threatening to rape them. Adults saw what was happening and intervened before the men escaped.
- February 21: A women was walking alone at midnight in the town centre when a man passing by made sexual remark. The woman responded by calling him an ‘idiot’. He punched her, splitting her eyebrow and threatened to kill her. He was interrupted by passers-by and fled.
- February 26: A women walking to work near the university was attacked by three men, beaten and pushed to the ground. They held her down and forced their fingers into her mouth while saying offensive, sexual words to her. Taleb Moafagh, 22, was arrested over the incident.
- February 27: Police saw men surround a group of women and grope them outside a nightclub. When police tried to intervene, a drunken brawl broke out between men coming out of the club and the sex attackers fled.
- March 2: Two women walking home from a bar were stopped by a group of men who told them: ‘Girls should not be out at this time of the night’ – before pushing them into a corner and groping them, then wandered off, laughing.
- March 5: A woman walking by herself was threatened by a man in passing car, who screamed at her he would get his friends to ‘rape and murder’ her. When she ran off, he chased her but she managed to get to her apartment before he reached her.
- March 6: A women walking home alone was whistled at by a man. When she told him to stop, he hit her in the head with his fist. She fell down and he punched her a second time, pushed her head into the snow and screamed at her he would rape and kill her before fleeing.
- March 6: The same day another woman was walking home from a restaurant was attacked by three men. She was hit in the stomach by two of the men and shoved to the ground. A third man began undoing her trousers, but she managed to hit him in the head with her elbow. He started bleeding and fled. She later told police she was trained in martial arts – a skill police say saved her from being raped.
For their part, the police in Östersund (with a population of 45,000) say they have never seen anything like this before.
Stephen Jerand, the county police commissioner, admitted police in the town are struggling to cope – adding that the surge in attacks “seem unreal.” He said that ‘we called the press meeting this Monday because we have seen an accelerating development here.
“‘This is a small town where groups of men are attacking women during the night. We wanted to warn the public and urge women not to walk home on the streets in the central part of the town after dark, because it is not safe.”
“The situation is tense. We have never experienced anything like this before. It is almost unreal. Eight attacks and just three this last weekend. This is a quiet part of Sweden where we barely have had any attacks on women and now this.” Officers are confident they will catch the perpetrators and say victims claim their attackers were of ‘foreign origin’.
So far only one man, whose nationality is unknown, has been arrested.
Taleb Moafagh, 22, was caught allegedly attempting to flee to Germany on board a ferry in southern Sweden. He was detained in connection to an attack on February 26.
For those living in the town surrounded by mountains, 350 miles north-west of Stockholm, there is no doubt where to find these criminals: among the migrant men who have arrived in droves in recent months, forcing them off the streets of the town they call home. An asylum centre has opened 10km outside the town holding 900 refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
Many within the community have blamed the migrants for the attacks. Police have not released any nationalities of suspects but have admitted victims described their attackers as men of ‘foreign origin‘.
Commissioner Jerand added: “We have had a lot of problems with immigration. It strikes our resources really hard. We are often called out to asylum centres.”
‘We see increasing violence towards women and children at the centres and do not really have the resources to cope with everything.’
The string of assaults began on February 20, when the two young schoolgirls were groped.
Fortunately, a number of adults saw what was happening and intervened – but the attackers fled from the scene before police could arrive.
Other incidents include women being molested outside a nightclub, a group of women walking home being groped by a laughing mob of men, and a woman being told she would be raped and murdered.
Even before this week’s warning, the women and teenagers who live in the city were too terrified to walk alone at night, telling MailOnline the situation has got ‘out of hand’.
Josefine Larsson, 16, told MailOnline it is ‘really worrying’ and that she is frightened to out late on her own.
‘Everyone is saying that there are immigrants responsible for this. But they are always blamed when something goes wrong,’ she said. ‘Hopefully the police will eventually arrest these psychopaths and then we will see who they are.’
Others said the situation had already got ‘out of hand’, and admitted they were ‘terrified’ to go outside after dark. Lovis Jonsson, 16, said: ‘It is terrible that women are the ones who are targeted. I feel afraid and exposed. I will never go out by myself after dark after the police warnings.’
Gry Abrahamsson, also 16, said ‘It is really creepy what is going on in town.
Abrahamsson said “I never thought the police in a small town like this would have to tell
women to stay inside because of groups of men attacking innocent women
during the night. This has gotten out of hand.”
Perhaps things will change for the better, in the meantime, as a result of flawed policies taken in a country far away, the reverberations of Merkel’s agenda has converted Östersund into a ghost town.
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