Sweden mulls stricter harassment laws after #MeToo campaign

The leaders of all the Riksdag parties have said that they are open to introducing stricter legislation against harassment following Swedish testimonies offered as part of the #MeToo campaign on social media, reports Dagens Nyheter. “We need to prevent online hate in a completely different way with sharper legislation, and that is true for sexual offenses too,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (S) told the newspaper. The Left Party’s leader Jonas Sjöstedt agrees that Sweden needs to tighten legislation, “for example, by introducing a consent law” and the Christian Democrat’s party leader Ebba Busch Thor says she wants to see real punishment for anyone who violates women sexually.

Regnér: Men should engage in fight against sexual abuse

More men should show their support in the fight against sexual violence, abuse and harassment, the Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér (S) told SVT. She is in favour of the countless women joining the “MeToo” hashtag on social media to testify about the problem. At the same time, it is not a private issue of individual women but a societal problem notes Regnér. ”We have presented a strategy of SEK 1 billion to counteract violence against women. We have commissioned the authorities, the judiciary and the police to work on this. The focus is on preventing violence by making it clear to children and young people that this is an important social issue” Regnér says, while emphasising that more people should engage in the fight, not least men.

Earlier in the week, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said Wednesday she had experienced sexual harassment as she announced she had joined the #MeToo campaign on Facebook” reports France24. She told the press later that it had occurred ‘at the highest political levels’ during a meeting of European leaders. Of the thousands of women sharing their stories of abuse during the #MeToo campaign, Wallström said: “These are brave women and girls around the world, but I also think of this as a politician: What do we do? This type of call is not enough, it also has to lead to action.”

 

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Philip Barjami is an editor for Mundus News and a regular contributor to the Monthly Policy Review. Philip holds a BSc in History and International Relations from the London School of Economics (LSE) with First Class Honours and has a Master’s in Middle Eastern Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. He has previously worked as an interpreter and as a financial analyst, before deciding to become a journalist. He is fluent in English, Swedish and Farsi.