Over the last two years, sexual assault reports in Europe have risen dramatically. It has reached a breaking point in terms of what kind of social activities will now be allowed. Sweden has begun pushing for “no-male” music festivals in the wake reports of sexual assault and rape at large public gatherings. However, the problem is far deeper than just music festivals; both German and Swedish authorities have been accused of covering up mass-sexual assault in an attempt to stem “anti-migrant rhetoric”.
In February, President Trump spoke at a rally decrying what was happening in Sweden. Mainstream media commentators mocked the President, while ignoring the very real situations that were unfolding across Europe. Since the beginning of the European Migrant Crisis, a shocking rise in sex assault has been recorded in every country that has taken in refugees. While many are quick to point out that correlation and causation are not necessarily linked, reports show that a large number of these attacks are being carried out by new arrivals.
During New Year’s Eve celebrations in Germany an alarming number of sexual assaults and rapes were reported. Yet, it was six months later before reports were released by the authorities stating that more than 1200 women were sexually assaulted by large groups of “North African and Arab” males. Aftonbladet, a Swedish News outlet, claimed that reporting on the sexual attacks in Germany was bowing to right-wing extremism. This is becoming a common theme across Europe. Authorities and news organizations are unwilling to admit a direct link between mass-migration and sex assault.
Bråvalla, Sweden’s largest annual music festival will not continue in 2018. In 2017, there were four rapes and 23 sexual assaults reported. In 2016, five rapes and twelve sexual assaults were reported. Many big name acts, including Mumford & Sons, are boycotting the festival until organizers can guarantee that no more assaults will take place. Performers made their boycott known by releasing a statement:
“Festivals are a celebration of music and people, a place to let go and feel safe doing so we won’t play at this festival again until we’ve had assurances from the police and organisers that they’re doing something to combat what appears to be a disgustingly high rate of reported sexual violence.”
The Swedish authorities have responded with some particularly alarming ideas. Feminist groups (both in and out of Parliament) have floated the idea of banning men from the nation’s music festivals. A move that has a surprising amount of public support.
Not only are authorities reluctant to admit the problem, but the nature of the attacks make investigation difficult as well. Holger Münch, president of the German Federal Crime Police Office, said: “There is a connection between the emergence of this phenomenon and the rapid migration in 2015,” he added (regarding the Cologne attacks), that “We have to presume that many of those crimes will never be fully investigated.”
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.