Today, Nigel Farage said that Malmö in Sweden was the rape capital of Europe, accusing the large influx of refugees for causing an increasing in crime and violence. Donald Trump made a similar confused reference to Sweden in a rally recently. If you look at reported rapes, Sweden has indeed one of the highest rates in the world, after Botswana. But does this mean that women in Sweden are much less safe than elsewhere?
The high rape rates in Sweden can be mostly accounted for by the way the are counted, as this article reported:
In Sweden there has been this ambition explicitly to record every case of sexual violence separately, to make it visible in the statistics. So, for instance, when a woman comes to the police and she says my husband or my fiance raped me almost every day during the last year, the police have to record each of these events, which might be more than 300 events. In many other countries it would just be one record – one victim, one type of crime, one record.”
The thing is, the number of reported rapes has been going up in Sweden – it’s almost trebled in just the last seven years. In 2003, about 2,200 offences were reported by the police, compared to nearly 6,000 in 2010. So something’s going on.
But Klara Selin says the statistics don’t represent a major crime epidemic, rather a shift in attitudes. The public debate about this sort of crime in Sweden over the past two decades has had the effect of raising awareness, she says, and encouraging women to go to the police if they have been attacked.