In the past decade, the percentage of Swedes who have become victims of sexual offences has increased, the majority of them being women, a new survey by the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) has found.
Out of the Swedish population aged 16-84, 6.4 percent claimed to have been subjected to sexual offenses in 2017. Over the past decade, this percentage has increased significantly.
The increase was steepest among women, having doubled in the years 2015-2017. Today, 10.7 of Swedish women report having been exposed to sexual offences, compared to 1.6 percent of men. In 2006, by contrast, sexual abuse was reported by only 2.5 percent of women and 0.4 percent of men.
Young women in the 16-24 age bracket turned out to be the most exposed group, having experienced a rise in sexual offence from 7.1 percent in 2006 to 34.4 percent in 2017.
Furthermore, 20 percent of women and 2 percent of men are worried about being raped, a crime category that triggers most worries after only burglaries.
"It is important to keep in mind that sexual offence is a broad crime category that encompasses a wide range of crimes. Everything from milder offences such as sexist comments, to very serious crimes such as rape," Brå investigator Maria Söderström told national broadcaster SVT.
Criminologist and gender researcher Nina Rung is positive about the development. She ascribed the spike to her compatriots' inclination to report more crime, partly as as consequence of the anti-harassment #MeToo movement, which last year took Sweden by storm.
"The more we talk about it and the more it is written, the greater the effects it gets. To be able to report, you must first understand that what you have been exposed to is a crime. The more knowledge you get about harassment, the higher the chance you can tell what you have been exposed to," Rung explained to SVT. "I want everyone to report, so that we can apply political pressure to investigate," she added.
Rung is not surprised that it's the youngest age group that is the most at risk.
"If you are 65 and spend most of your time indoors, the risk of being exposed isn't high. If you have a mobile phone, though, you have a higher chance of being exposed and get 'dick pics'. If you go out, you can end up being groped. If you meet a new partner, you can even be subjected to rape," Rung said, calling for greater emphasis on preventive work.
Brå's survey will be published in its entirety in January 2019.