Rape: Have There Been Any Changes In How It Is Viewed?

Stina Jeffner sitting in her office in front of a bookshelfIt's been 20 years since Stina Jeffner wrote her noteworthy thesis "Liksom våldtäkt, typ" (unofficial translation "Like rape, sort of"). The thesis dealt with teenagers' views on rape - what is okay, what is not. The question is, what has happened in the last 20 years when it comes to this subject?

"Sadly, very little. It almost feels as though nothing at all has happened in actual fact. What is becoming apparent from the current #metoo is more or less what I wrote about in my thesis," explains Stina Jeffner, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Dalarna University.

Stina Jeffner's thesis from 1997 showed that it was not unusual for boys to commit rape without understanding what it is and that girls are talked into having sex or have sex against their will, and that this is something you expect to happen when you have a relationship with somebody.

"When I wrote my thesis, it had quite the impact. There was a great deal of discussion about sex and rape. But after that, not much happened. Now it is becoming apparent just how many women have been subjected to sexual harassment, which in turn demonstrates how little has changed in the last 20 years. The fundamental problems remain: men who don't understand the limits and women who too often accept what they are subjected to."

What can come of #metoo?

"All women have similar experiences, and this is so apparent now with #metoo. Each time the debate on subordination and superiority presents itself, the problem is exposed, and more and more people are made aware. It is difficult to counter #metoo. So many women have been subject to sexual harassment and sexual violence. It is clear that women are subjected to these as part of everyday life by regular male friends and male colleagues. Of course, not all men behave this way, but many do.

What do you think will happen now?

"Now the political debate has commenced, which is good. The issue is so big that politicians cannot ignore it. But it needs to be a question in the election campaign too, otherwise the risk is that the debate simply dies. But we need to be glad that #metoo is currently having such an impact. That people are no longer simply ignoring what is happening. It is important and good that women can now finally tell their stories, and for many this means processing what has happened to them. This for many women is a good thing."

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