Sweden: Not Everyone Can Say #MeToo

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.
One of the clearest examples is a recent case where a rapist was not condemned and his victim was blamed. On October 11, 2017, Arif Moradi, an illegal immigrant from Afghanistan who lives in Sweden, was convicted of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl. Moradi had been appointed in November 2016 to be a youth leader at a "Confirmation camp" by the Church of Sweden. At this camp, Moradi began to make sexual advances towards the 14-year-old girl, until on the night of November 12-13, 2016, the most serious abuse took place as the other children were sleeping.
The victim succeeded in fleeing to the bathroom, where she sent several text messages to a friend at the camp. Together, the two girls woke up the parish educator, Eva-Lotta Martinsson, and told her what had taken place. The parish educator, however, decided not to report the incident to the police. The reason the parish educator did not inform police was apparently because, as she later told the police, she did not perceive it as "serious." When the girl's mother found out about the assault, she did report it to the police.
Moradi was sentenced to probation and a fine for sexual abuse.
Moradi, before the incident in the camp, had been celebrated in Sweden's media as an outspoken, newly-arrived migrant who had "liberal values." In an interviewfrom July 2017 Moradi said:
"Many have been subjected to terrible cruelties. In Afghanistan, there is no talk about how girls feel, women have no rights at all. Most people do not even know what equality and democracy is."
The article also says that Moradi is active in the National Association for Unaccompanied minors, and that he has spoken in front of thousands of people and even shaken hands with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. The article carries the headline: "They Care about the Forgotten Girls".
The same month, Moradi appeared again in another article in the newspaper Göteborgs Posten, with the headline: "Society Has Forgotten the Unaccompanied Girls". In this article, Moradi is described as a champion for young girls.
In August 2017, Radio Sweden reported that Moradi was organizing a sit-in in Gothenburg, protesting the deportation of Afghan migrants.
Even after Moradi sexual assaulted the 14-year-old girl, the Swedish media continued to celebrate him. Several months later, the Swedish media were still describing him as a hero and champion for women and human rights.
You might expect that Moradi's conviction, when it was proven without doubt that Moradi had committed the crime, people would distance themselves from Moradi. But that is not how it works in Sweden.
After the sentencing, there was still strong support for Moradi among many Swedish women. Several "refugee activists" expressed their support for Moradi and wanted him released from the custody of the Swedish Migration Agency.
Moradi was also visited by a female member of parliament, Christina Örnebjär, who represents the Liberal Party. Örnebjär said she wanted to "have a talk" with Moradi and posted a selfie with him, but after some angry comments, she took it down.
The 14-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted by Moradi was attacked in social media by left-wing activists and accused of lying. One woman wrote on social media: "Good, Arif... What comes around... Goes around... They will get their punishment!!"
Another activist wrote:
"Yes, little girls with long eyelashes can create a hell for boys, men. A little crying and teeth-gnashing always helps girls, damn these pathetic people, am throwing up".
If you are sexually assaulted by an illegal migrant in Sweden it is hard to say "Me too": there are many activists and supporters of migrants who will accuse the victim of lying -- even when the victim is only 14-years-old and needs all the support she can get.
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.
Considering this narrative, it is no surprise that a female member from the conservative Sweden Democrats party was not allowed to speak about her own experience of rape, at a "Me Too" event in Uppsala, merely because of her conservative party association. The organizer of the protest gave the following explanation:
"As a Sweden Democrat, she stands to some extent for opinions that go against the values for which we organized this event and we chose to take her away from the speaker list. I hope that she gets to tell her story but in another forum."
It is obvious that the #MeToo Movement in Sweden has become something other than a campaign where women support one another. It has effectively become a platform for radical feminists in Sweden. For instance, Linnéa Claesson, a columnist at the newspaper Aftonbladetwrites that after the #MeToo debate, all men should call themselves feminists to show that they see men and women as equals.
That this movement has gained in popularity with Swedes is not a surprise. 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.

Nima Gholam Ali Pour is a member of the board of education in the Swedish city of Malmö and is engaged in several Swedish think tanks concerned with the Middle East. He is also editor for the social conservative website Situation Malmö, and is the author of the Swedish book "Därför är mångkultur förtryck" ("Why Multiculturalism is Oppression").

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