Swedish Anti-Rape ‘Man-Free’ Music Festival Ruled Discriminatory

Sweden
FRIDA WINTER/AFP/Getty Images
VICTORIA FRIEDMAN

A feminist music event has fallen foul of Sweden’s equality laws for banning “cis men” at a women-only concert, organised after a spate of sex attacks by migrant men plagued other festivals.

Sweden’s Discrimination Ombudsman ruled on Monday that because the website of summer 2018’s Statement Festival advertised it as “male-free” and that all “cis” (biologically male) men would be excluded, it represented an “infringement of the prohibition of discrimination in a manner related to gender”.

The ruling notes that according to the European Court of Justice, public statements that discourage some people from taking part in an activity form a basis of discrimination.

Following reports of four rapes and 23 sexual assaults at 2017’s Bråvalla Festival, Swedish comedienne Emma Knyckare founded the Statement Festival, which advertised the two-day event in late August 2018 as “the world’s first major music festival for women, non-binary and transgender only.”

Held in Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenberg, Statement organisers said at the time that for women festival goers to “feel safe,” the feminist event would be “completely free from cis men, in both the audience and on the line up.”

While biological men were not banned from buying tickets, they were, along with male technicians and band entourage, reportedly confined to an area referred to as the “man pen.”

Statement reacted to the ombudsman ruling on a Facebook post addressed, “Hey Discrimination Ombuds-‘cis’-man!”

“We’ve are aware of your decision and we think it’s sad that 5,000 women, non-binary, and transgender experienced a life-changing event — but a few cis men went through the roof,” it said.

“The success of the Statement Festival shows that we needed it and the decision did not change that fact.”

Organisers of Bråvalla, Sweden’s largest music festival, announced in June 2018 that they would cancel all future events following the sex attacks were nearly 40 young girls complained of being harassed or assaulted by men described as “foreign” in 2017.

Since 2016, sex attacks and rapes against women and girls at festivals in Sweden were reported at We Are Sthlm, where assaults nearly doubled on the year before, Emmaboda Festival, and Malmöfestivalen, with 2017 seeing over 150 cases of sex attacks including 20 rapes at various festivals across the country.

Breitbart London reported in 2016 that Swedish police were accused of covering up concert sex attacks by migrant men. Stockholm Council and festival organisers having identified the sex mob phenomenon two years prior, but failed to disclose it to the public — claiming that to do so would have been “irresponsible.”

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