A year has passed and a lot has happened. Many good things but also many bad things. Previously, about 5000 rapes are reported every year in Sweden. That’s more than in our neighboring countries. This is good and bad, of course terrible that so many people are victims of sexual assaults, but the fact that so many cases are reported is good. The only way to prevent rape is for as many victims as possible to be brave and report their ordeals to save themselves so the perpetrators can be convicted. Only you can save yourself. 5000 rapes, few get media attention, only the extreme cases are newsworthy. Every rape is awful for the victim and their friends and family. Every rape harms someone for life. Many rapes are not reported even today and the perpetrator is free to abuse you or others again.
Much has happened globally too, the recent tragic fate of the woman who was gang raped, beaten with pipes and thrown from a car in India died from her injuries. India is a country waking up to the inequalities between men and women. Many women are afraid to leave their homes, they have their freedoms infringed. It is very tragic that the death of a woman is needed to initiate change.
The 19 year old Dutch woman who was raped in Thailand made headlines last fall.
Her father made a video on Youtube where he waves firearms and sings that the perpetrator must be stopped. This rape made the debate of what is considered rape in Thailand. Is it rape if you know the perpetrator? YES, rape can be committed by a friend, classmate, relative or boyfriend and it’s still rape.
2012 was a year with about 5000 rapes in Sweden and so many more all over the world. There is currently a global debate on how these tragic fates could have been hindered. I hope 2013 becomes a year of change, for the number of rapes in Sweden decline, that more people have the courage to report, that India becomes a more equal country where women can feel safe and free and that the Thai legislation will protect victims of rape from violators whom they know. I have great hopes for 2013, but maybe, maybe if we all work together we can stop the rapes and have real freedom.
Maria Brambeck for RealStars