Sweden: Not Everyone Can Say #MeToo

Nima Gholam Ali Pour, Gatestone Instute, January 11 2018


Interest and involvement in the “#MeToo Movement” has been strong in Sweden. Internet searches for the phrase “me too” show that Swedes made almost three times as many as the Dutch population, in second place for the number of searches for “me too”.

What the #MeToo Movement reminds us of in Sweden is how the issue of sexual harassment has become very politicized. While many Swedes are eager to expose celebrities who have sexually assaulted or sexually harassed women, Sweden is still a country where sexual assaults and rapes by newly arrived and illegal migrants is denied and concealed in the most vicious ways by parts of the official establishment.


That Swedish media conceal sexual assaults by migrants is not exactly a secret; it has happened quite a few times. I have written about leading Swedish newspapers that have refused to report on sexual assaults by migrants until alternative media outlets have forced those papers to write about them.

Two things are clear: The first is that the issue of sexual assault has, for a long time, been politicized in Sweden. The second is that when the context of a sexual assault is “politically incorrect” and not compatible with the official establishment’s narrative about migration and migrants, the #MeToo Movement in Sweden will often exclude it.

Sweden has let in a huge wave of young male migrants, many of whom have unfortunately created an insecure environment for women; when these women have cried for help and tried to share their stories, the Swedish media and politicians have refused to listen.

The media in Sweden have never given Swedish women an opportunity to tell how the European migrant crisis, which began in 2015, has affected their day-to-day lives. It should not matter what ethnicity or background the perpetrator has — but in Sweden, it does matter.

The main narrative of official Sweden declares that all migration enriches Sweden.

Another part of this official narrative is that Sweden is filled with racists. Oddly enough, a lot of migrants seem to want to come to Sweden despite the fact that Sweden, according to this narrative, is a country filled with racists.


… Sweden is, after all, a country where rapists often get away with their crimes. In September 2017, the Swedish media reported that the police have no time to investigate rape cases because of the many murders. The reports mentioned a case concerning a 12-year-old girl who was raped in the municipality of Stenungsund. After six weeks, the police had made no progress in the case, despite having the name of the person suspected of raping her. There are many similar cases in Sweden; women have a right to feel a deep injustice.

The main problem with the #MeToo Movement is that instead of relying on the rule of law, people start relying on the rule of social media. The number of “likes” or retweets is what decides whose experiences of sexual assault are recognized and noticed. If you have not been harassed or assaulted by a celebrity, nothing happens. If you were sexually assaulted by a nobody, nobody cares.

In Sweden, you get no support if you have been raped by a migrant, as many examples illustrate.

Women who are sexually assaulted need justice. The proper authorities need to investigate the alleged crimes. But there are too few police officers in Sweden to create safety for women. Social media cannot, of course, replace the rule of law.

Those who celebrate the #MeToo Movement, as the cover of Time magazine did recently, would do well to acknowledge that the movement seems to be conforming to different national contexts. In the Swedish context, sexual assault and harassment are politicized and subordinated to an official, politically correct narrative. Accordingly, women who are assaulted by migrants cannot say “Me too” — despite the huge support in Sweden for the #MeToo Movement.

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