Aftonbladet’s unique review of 112 boys and men convicted of violence gang rape reveals that the number of convictions has more than doubled in four years.
By – Brünnhilde
The rapists were usually young, and troubled. They were familiar with their victims.
A large majority of them, specifically 82 of 112, were born in countries outside Europe.
Gang rape violence is the crime that receives the most amount of attention and arouses the most discontent and outrage but there are little statistics and factual information regarding it.
The review investigates deep within the reality of violent assaults committed by strangers in desolate places.
In just five cases, the attack was pure assault, according to our studies. Our review of 58 low-power rape judgments since July 2012, where at least two perpetrators were pointed out.
The crime is not common compared with other sexual offenses: 29 of 286 rape victims in 2016 were also victims of group violence.
We understand now, after our review, that group violence is mostly committed in private areas by troubled teenagers who were schoolmates, chatted on Facebook, attended the same parties, or had met one another mere hours before the crime.
Every other victim had known at least one of the men during the rape attack. The victim trusted his/her perpetrator.
Afterwards, a majority of the convicted boys and men claimed that there had been voluntary sexual intercourse – and in many cases, they even went as far as claiming that it was the victim who proposed sexual intercourse and actively participated in the act.
“She said she wanted to have sex with both of us and pulled down my pants,”
claimed an 18-year-old, who was charged with raping a schoolmate after sharing a bottle of vodka.
Many of the victims of group violence performed very poorly at the trial, usually occurring several months after the attack, according to our review. They were found to be exposed to rumors and hatred within their community, experiencing nightmares, suffering from school problems, and displaying self-harm behaviors.
One of the victims, a young girl, committed suicide just before her trial, when the preliminary investigation has been suspended temporarily. She quickly became traumatized and began self-harming after the group violence attack and in an essay, 13 days before she took her own life, she writes:
“It spread quickly. The guys told everyone that I did what they wanted just to get alcohol in my body. “
Seven out of ten perpetrators were between 15 and 20 years old while the victim’s median age was only 15 years.
In some cases, both perpetrators and victims were under 15 years
We have examined 58 judgments (56 crimes in total) that have occurred since July 2012, read preliminary investigations, personal investigations and legal psychiatric statements and systematically compared the circumstances of the crimes.
The dominant image we are seeing is young attackers who rape even younger victims.
Our review shows that only 14 offenders are 30 years of age or older. In an unusual case, a 48-year-old woman is raped by two 18-year-olds who will threatened to shoot her on a moped.
Every second victim knew at least one of the perpetrators. 40 out of 56 group violence occurred indoors, or in a car or caravan.
16 crimes occurred outdoors, in parks and woodlands.
The number of reports involving group violence has more than doubled in four years, revealed the review.
A contributing factor may be the amendment of the law in 2013, where the term “helpless state” was replaced by the further term “particularly vulnerable situation”.
Following 2013, 20 judges concluded that the victim was in a “particularly vulnerable situation” – they were asleep, were heavily drunk, experienced serious fear or were in numerical disadvantage.
“It’s easier to get someone convicted these days. It was quite necessary to be in a helpless state,” says Nils Petter Ekdahl, chief executive officer at Lund District Court.
Nevertheless, only one convicting group violence sentence in Sweden is reported on average on average.
“The question is whether it is rare for group violence or if the police are unable to cope with them,” says Jerzy Sarnecki , Professor of Criminology.
In 2013, 6 rape sentences (with 11 convicted) involved some sort of group violence.
In 2017, 14 rape sentences (with 29 convicted) fell in the category of group violence. In at least 7 cases, the victim was in a “particularly exposed situation” according to the court.
Only in 2 out of 10 judgments before the change of law on July 1, 2013, was the victim found to be in a “helpless state”.
Two group violence in our review took place on 9 and 10 June last year.
A 15-year-old and a 16-year-old boy were visited by a 16-year-old girl in Stockholm. Her friend mentioned to her that they were “good guys”. They began drinking wine and vodka at her home. The boys started to touch her body, took away her phone and wallet and forced her to do as they instructed. The rape was filmed.
“We wanted to make a porn video,”
claimed one of the boys during police interrogation.
A 17-year-old girl met a two boys at a school in Eksjö. The girl has visited one of the boys earlier and reportedly thought that he “seemed nice”. They sat at a sports ground and shared a bottle of liquor before they began their attack. Three passers-by boys heard her screaming and called a police officer.
“She said it hurt but she did not say no,”
explained the convicted 18-year-old as we interviewed at the facility.
The four young rapists in the examples are typical in our review: they are familiar with their victims, were drunk with alcohol and / or cannabis, and claimed that the act was voluntary.
They lack stable relationships with parents or other adults. The boys have previous contact with social services and police, suffered from suspected drug problems and one has reportedly been thrown out of school due to his violent nature.
The group violence attack discussed in the first example was committed by a boy born in Sweden by Swedish-born parents and another Swedish-born boy with a parent born in the United States, and one in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The crime in Eksjö was committed by two boys born in Afghanistan.
The proportion of foreign-born convicted offenders was found to be very high in our review – 82 of 112 were born in a country outside of Europe.
Nobody we talked to – criminologists, lawyers, psychologists, researchers – are surprised at this discovery:
“The threshold for abuse may be lower for a foreign-born, a female-borne man who is carrying and is supported by a mate who interprets women as sexually available as they move outside,” explains Christian Diesen , professor of criminal law who researched rape sentences.
“I do not question that there is a clear overrepresentation. The possibility that there are cultural differences, I also do not exclude. But how much does it influence? There are very few cultures that allow that kind of behavior,” says Henrik Tham , Professor Emeritus in Criminology.
“There is an actual overrepresentation of immigrants in crime statistics, and it depends mainly on the conditions they live in Sweden, as social class relationships. An additional factor that can explain a small part of the overrepresentation that exists is that they are discriminated against in different ways by the judicial system, and it can not be excluded that the police are more likely to investigate their crimes,” says Jerzy Sarnecki, Professor of Criminology Researching Immigration’s Overrepresentation in Crime.
27 out of 112 convicted offenders were born in Sweden, of which 13 of two Swedish-born parents. 82 are born outside of Europe.
The most common citizenship of the offenders are: Sweden (41), Afghanistan (25), Iraq (9) and Somalia (7).
“Coming from a culture where sex can not be talked is a risk factor,” says Mia Jörgensen, a psychologist at youth hostel Bärby, where young sexual offenders are treated.
“It may mean that you are not used to coping with sexuality. I think it’s important for every person to know: How do I have healthy sexuality? How do I manage my sexual urges?” she continues.
Sociologist Annika Wassberg has been working for 23 years with children and youngsters who commit sexual abuse. She says that professionals need to find ways to meet young foreign men who have grown up in male-dominated cultures.
“Just talking about Swedish values such as “girls can decide for themselves what to do with their bodies and they have the right to be as sexual as boys” likely has no effect.”
“At the moment, they feel like society has abandoned them. As if, for example, they arrived in Sweden, they put a stamp on their hands and put them on the black side. “So, bye, here is some information about how we in Sweden think about equality and democracy. Go out, and do right!”
Many of the guys in our review have a distorted view of sexuality, according to statements in judgments and preliminary investigations. They trivialize that their victims’ pleas and cries for help, they are drunk to the point of unconsciousness. Many express themselves pornographically.
“She would certainly have sex with me because she had drunk too much,” says an 18-year-old boy, who was convicted of raping a woman in a group attack after he promised to drive her home.
“She is fat, ugly and a whore. She has had sex with all my friends,” says a 16-year-old who raped a drunk 13-year-old girl along with his younger brother.
Footnote: In 15 of the 58 judges in our review, only one rapist was arrested. In those cases there were minor offenders who were not penalized, or unknown perpetrators who could not be arrested. Rarely more than two perpetrators were convicted. In eight cases, only three perpetrators were convicted, and in one case, only five were sentenced.
The material includes 58 judgments of 56 group violence. Three group violence attacks were divided into two cases each.