Police in the southern Swedish province of Småland say at least four teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 17 were raped at the Emmaboda Festival over the weekend. They also claim hundreds of drug offences also took place at the event.The police released a statement on their website totalling the various crimes that occurred at the five-day festival which ended on Saturday. They say that four girls, between the ages of 15 and 17, were raped, 11 women over 18 were sexually abused, 113 people were reported as possessing drugs, and there were a further 251 reports of individuals consuming drugs.
Ewa-Gun Westford, spokesman for the South Police Region, said: “There are six suspects for sexual attacks and one for rape,” but did not identify any of the suspects or describe their backgrounds.
Ms. Westford added: “Several people who have worked at the festival have been using or have been dealing drugs.”
Festival organisers have said that this year’s festival will be the last.
“We will evaluate the efforts of the police together with the organiser and the municipality in order to set the conditions for this festival to continue. It’s not just about drugs but also about safety in the area,” Westford said.
The possible cancellation of the festival echoes the story of the Bravalla Festival in Norrkoping which was plagued by sex attacks in 2016 in which up to 40 girls were attacked and again this year with fewer victims but still significant numbers.
Organisers announced the cancellation of the 2018 festival saying that despite their best efforts they were unable to stop the continued sex attacks.
According to reports, the number of sex attacks at Swedish music festivals has increased by as much as 1,000 per cent in 2016 and the trend has shown little sign of change.
Aside from the outright cancelling of festivals, few have proposed meaningful solutions to the problem of sex assaults, many of which are said to be committed by young men of a migrant background.
Swedish feminist Emma Knyckare has put forward a plan to have a music festival that would avoid sex assaults by not allowing men to participate either as festival goers or performers. Knyckare has already claimed that she has received an outpouring of support for her idea and plans to organise a festival as early as next year.
The issue of sex attacks in Sweden is not limited to music festivals as some have complained of systematic sex assaults in Swedish schools, as well. One group in Sweden even claim that most gang rape offences are committed by individuals from migrant backgrounds.