Hundreds of protesters raged against Swedish police Tuesday after the nation’s law enforcement warned women to “stay inside or walk in pairs” to avoid the slew of gang rapes that have plagued the country this fall.
Police issued the warning Sunday after a 17-year-old was gang raped early Saturday morning in Malmo, Sweden, by an unknown number of attackers, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday. The first of the series of rapes occurred on Nov. 4, followed by another just a week later. Malmo police have opened a preliminary investigation into the rape, and they have defended their comment, claiming their words are being taken out of context.
“It’s about common sense. We are not warning people not to be outside, but to think twice and maybe not walk alone late at night and instead go with others or take a taxi,” said Anders Nilsson, a Malmo police officer.
Despite their defense, however, Malmo police yielded to protesters Tuesday and retracted the statement.
Sweden’s rape rate is among the highest in the world. This summer, a Swedish music festival decided to cancel its 2018 event due to the spree of rapes that took place at the event. Attendees reported three rapes and 22 sexual assaults by the festival’s conclusion in early July, and the festival’s founder said he can no longer allow the festival to go on.
The country’s immigrant rape problem has also escalated as it has taken in more and more refugees from conflicts in the Middle East. Sweden has also shown great reluctance to deport refugees and foreigners who have been convicted of rape. Only 13 percent of foreigners registered as Swedish residents found guilty of raping children between 2010-2014 were sent home. Among those not registered as Swedish residents, only 40 percent of foreign child rapists are deported.
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