Swedish Town Mobs Supported Rapist

When the Swedish investigative television show Uppdrag granskning (Mission Review) received a tip about an innocently convicted rapist, it set out to investigate a legal case gone wrong. Instead, it discovered a solid rape case that was nonetheless opposed by a town mob that firmly defended the rapist with arguments about his kindness, popularity and good looks.

The episode aired in Sweden last week and has since been wildly debated in Swedish media, stirring up shock and protests over the old-world patriarchal views that still prevail in some parts of the Scandinavian country.

In the small town of Bjästa last March, 14-year-old Linnea was raped by 15-year-old Oskar in a school bathroom. Linnea immediately pressed charges, telling police that Oskar had sat on her chest while holding down her arms with his legs. Then he put his penis in her mouth, forced her to perform oral sex and ejaculated in her face.

After several interrogations, Oskar admitted the crime, but later retracted his confession. Nonetheless, with corroborating evidence from a medical examination and a teacher’s testimony that Linnea appeared shaken after the incident, Oskar was convicted for raping a minor (in Sweden you’re legally considered an adult at 15).

But Oskar’s popularity in the community led to an unexpected backlash against Linnea. When Oskar was moved to another school as a result of the case, more than 50 students went on strike demanding to take him back. Oskar’s brother started an online petition to free him, which quickly garned 2,000 supporters, and a similar Facebook group drew 4,000 members. Online, both children and adults called Linnea a liar and whore. As one anonymous 51-year-old woman told reporters on Uppdrag Granskning, “As I’ve understood it she’s been after him and wanted to date him, and has done this as a revenge for being rejected.”

Three months after the rape, Oskar, despite being a convicted rapist with a restraining order against him, was invited to the annual year-end ceremony at school by the priest conducting it. That night, Oskar raped another girl and was again convicted, this time with evidence of his DNA found in the victim’s underwear.

Despite the DNA evidence, the mob backing Oskar still believed he was innocent. A Facebook commenter wrote, “I hate these fucking whores, I wish they could be raped for real and really suffer.” People still refused to believe that the charming boy they knew could have done anything wrong.

Since the TV episode aired, the town of Bjästa have been heavily criticized. The priest who invited Oskar to church is under investigation, as well as the school officials who failed to take a stand for Linnea.

The strong reactions to this story by the greater Swedish public is the only positive thing about the story. The fact that so many people got upset about what happened will hopefully build an awareness that will help prevent similar cases of blaming-the-victim/supporting-the-perpetrator from occurring.

Above: The Nätra church in Bjästa, Sweden. Photo courtesy of Henrik Sendelbach // CC 3.0.

Comments

  1. Dina Willner says:

    Not surprising when you see the support Roman Polanski has.

  2. Geez. And they say that _good-looking women_ get disproportionate support and love
    from other people…

    What’s wrong with these people?

  3. rape at the age of 15! that’s an alarm to all of us. this is what our children are learning these days. society is also responsible for these kind of acts. children should be kept under a strict watch and taught about the right and wrong by the parents themselves!

  4. Yes, that’s what’s so sad about this case. All these adults saw what was happening between two children and choose to take a stand for one of them, instead of giving guidance.

  5. Julie Zerwekh says:

    I immediately took action to have my vote of compassion towards Linnea on Facebook. I could not find her. It’s a very popular name in Sweden.
    Well I’ll tell you all that is terrible and I wish I could send my love to her in the actual plane, vs. just prayers, and the other woman at the graduation ceremony. I hate being scared as a girl, after rape. You are too shocked to start your own campaign.
    Well, maybe the girls will get healing and Oskar be stopped. I publicly brought attention to a perpetrator, that helped. It took lots of feminist action.

  6. A 15 year old boy raping a 14 year old girl points to a societal/socialization problem, which calls for each of the young ‘adults’to receive serious counselling. But it seems from the town’s adult reactions, no such counseling is forthcoming. Instead the situation has degenerated into name calling and side-taking, exposing seriously flawed values like “popular” and “good-looking” as though such attributes absolve violent conduct. Rape is abhorent violence which no civilized society can afford to treat lightly. What could be more true than in this boy’s case, now convicted of a second rape? It is silly to take sides. It is necessary to examine in a sexually permissive culture, what would lead a 15 year old to rape a 14 year old.

  7. Way to embolden and enable him, Bjästa. Of course he raped again. He was really popular for it the first time. I’m so glad there’s finally been some backlash on this backwards town, but none the less, every story like this erodes my faith in the human race.

  8. Humanista says:

    So upsetting, but unfortunately not suprising.

    I am a student at Ball State University, where 12,000 students have joined a Facebook group supporting an unknown attacker who slapped the butts of three girls on campus from the safety of his bicycle. He also circled back and intimidated one of them when she objected, but the students have seen the whole incident as hillarious, and they are using this as an opportunity to tell the victims and concerned others to “lighten up” and “get a life.” Many claim the Facebook group was set up only to mock the emergency e-mail message the University sent out, not the act itself, but there are now at least two “Ball State Ass Slapper” songs with music videos on YouTube celebrating and promoting what he did, encouraging others to do it, etc.

    We need to learn to trust women, and trust victims of violent crimes to know when something is serious enough to warrant police intervention. We need to stop protecting and excusing the offenders. We need to stop normalizing violence against women, and we need to accept that “good kids” can do bad things – and act accordingly.

  9. OMG! What the frack? How on earth do the people not just accept the fact that this ‘charming guy’ is a rapist? That is just sickening. These poor girls.

  10. Premilla-silly to take sides? Really? I’m taking the side of the victims. And I’m not blaming the behavior of a singularly violent boy on a sexually permissive culture.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Swedish Town Mobs Supported Rapist- This is simply stomach turning. A fifteen-year-old Sweedish man (you’re legally an adult at 15 there) has been convicted of rape TWICE (including DNA evidence) and has gotten off because his popularity and being “a nice guy.” [...]

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