The number is alarming : 35 cases of groping, 5 rapes at two Swedish events and 5 rapes at the ever famous Roskilde.
While police have been busy handing out “anti-groping” campaign bracelets before the summer festival season, the number of sexual cases have only increased. Over the weekend, at least 5 rapes and multiple sexual assaults were reported at the popular Bråvalla festival in Norrköping and at least 35 cases of groping were reported at the Putte i Parken festival in Karlstad where most victims were between the age of 12 to 17. The accused included teenage boys, many of foreign decent, grabbing the breasts of female audience members.
17 year old Alexandra Larsson waved her right to anonymity and described how she was molested multiple times despite trying to confront the people around her. She also stated that the group consisted mainly of teenage immigrant boys but since there were so many she had to give up and leave the festival along with her 15 year old friend who was also molested in the crowd.
This has caused an uproar amongst Swedish activists and politicians who are urging police to take stronger action. The outburst is also due to the fact that, not only have these incidents increased this year but police hid over 36 reports of groping by teenage boys at the We Are Sthlm youth festival during 2014-15.
“They [festival organizers] perhaps want to take it seriously and they are on their way towards understanding after quite some time. But very little is happening,” said Lisen Andréasson Florman, head of non-profit initiative Nattskiftet, which aims to create a safe environment at festivals.
Police press spokesman Thomas Agnevik, who was present at the Bråvalla festival, agreed in part saying, “I can understand that criticism. As long as these serious crimes are happening, of course not enough has been done. Nobody should have to go to a concert and leave as a rape victim.” While some have suggested increased camera surveillance at festivals, others argue that it would infringe on privacy. Agnevik stated that without CCTV it was “impossible” to get a clear view of a 20,000 strong audience.
Meanwhile at the Roskilde festival in Denmark, authorities have received 5 reports of rape. Police have stated that though the rape cases are more than last year, it could be due to new recording procedures as cases are now registered during the initial report and not after the perpetrator was arrested.
Police said that the five reported incidents were under ongoing investigations and declined to give any additional details.
The police also said that the festival was otherwise a quite affair with a decrease in thefts and pickpocketing.
“We are very satisfied with how the festival has gone,” said spokesman Carsten Andersen. “When you think about the fact that you have shoved 130,000 people together in a relatively small space, we think it is impressive that we haven’t had more to do.”
This is a sad scenario for festivals and also immigrants who have been given refuge in these countries. Such reports only make it more difficult for people actually in need of help while also stereotyping their nationalities as uncivilized.