Saturday, August 20, 2016

Debunking the myth of an immigrant/Muslim rape crisis in Sweden—and one of its promoters, Ingrid Carlqvist

On Facebook, I came across an Islamophobe who promoted the rightwing claim that Sweden is suffering from a rape crisis. As proof, he shared a video by Ingrid Carlqvist of the Gatestone Institute. I watched it, googled a bit, and found as I suspected that it's nonsense.

Most amusingly, my research brought up an article by Ms. Carlqvist which partially debunks her own video by pointing out some of the problems with careless use of Swedish rape statistics. From DSK case shows Sweden must deal with false rape complaints:
In April 2009 we read a shocking report claiming Sweden was the #1 rape country in Europe. More than 5,000 complaints per year is twice as many as #2 England.

The feminists say it's because Swedish women dare to file complaints.

The statisticians say it's because the concept of rape is much broader in Sweden and that therefore one cannot compare statistics like that.

The Sweden Democrats say it's due to all the immigrants coming from countries that don't respect the women's rights to not wear a burka.

I says there's a bit of truth in each of those explanations, but there's another explanation that's the most important, that always portrays men as perpetrators and women as victims. Most rape complaints are false. I base my conclusions on the hundreds of preliminary investigations and verdicts I've reviewed in my 30 years as a journalist.
Ms. Carlqvist really needs to read her own work. She was right that the Swedish numbers can be very misleading.

For a hard look at the statistics, see How Anti-Immigration Activists Misuse Rape Statistics | Debunking Denialism.

For a simple look at the legal concept of rape in Sweden, see Sweden's rape rate under the spotlight - BBC News, which includes this:
Klara Selin, a sociologist at the National Council for Crime Prevention in Stockholm. She says you cannot compare countries' records, because police procedures and legal definitions vary widely.

"In Sweden there has been this ambition explicitly to record every case of sexual violence separately, to make it visible in the statistics," she says. 
"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.
Recommended: The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate | The Nation: "Philanthropist Nina Rosenwald has used her millions to cement the alliance between the pro-Israel lobby and the Islamophobic fringe."

One of America's Most Dangerous Think Tanks Is Spreading Islamophobic Hate Across the Atlantic | Alternet: "The Gatestone Institute has pumped out reams of dangerous anti-Muslim propaganda, and its ties to UK groups deserve close scrutiny."