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Sex abuse scandals rock Denmark after missed ‘MeToo’ moment

By: Bloomberg |

Up to date: October 4, 2020 11:04:01 am

Denmark’s MeToo second began in August, roughly three years after the motion gripped many of the remainder of the world. And the medium via which it arrived was tv.

A rustic typically admired for its excessive requirements of gender equality is now coping with allegations of systematic sexual harassment on the high of the political institution.

Denmark’s parliament has for years allegedly served as a backdrop for misogynistic conduct together with all the things from rape to sexual intimidation of feminine interns by male lawmakers. That’s in keeping with a listing of accusations signed by 322 present and former feminine politicians and parliament staff.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says it’s now “not possible to contest” that there’s an issue, and has employed exterior legal professionals to look into the allegations. That’s as she herself faces criticism for appointing a overseas minister who admitted to having had intercourse with a 15-year-old when he was 34.

The dialogue has compelled a nationwide debate round abuse in a rustic that sees itself as a bastion of equality and openness. A part of the difficulty is complacency, in keeping with Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a former prime minister and the primary lady ever to guide Denmark’s authorities.

“We’ve lengthy assumed that we’d achieved gender equality,” Thorning-Schmidt stated in a cellphone interview. “And due to that, we assumed that there’s in all probability no sexual harassment.”

However the revelations in current weeks are a “wake-up name,” she stated.

Three Years Later

Denmark’s MeToo second began in August, roughly three years after the motion gripped many of the remainder of the world. And the medium via which it arrived was tv.

Sofie Linde, a preferred TV host, shocked her viewers at an awards present when she went off-script and spoke of an encounter that happened when she was 18. She stated a senior employees member ordered her to carry out oral intercourse, or threat having her profession derailed.

Linde, who says she refused, triggered a flood of reactions. Within the weeks that adopted, lots of of testimonials have been revealed in newspapers and on social media, revealing related experiences by which younger ladies throughout many professions spoke of being the victims of sexual harassment.

Newspaper opinion columns have been full of commentaries on the outpouring. Some have been dismissive, some mocking, however many urged that Denmark was dealing with a second of reckoning.

Political Correctness

Thorning-Schmidt grew to become prime minister in 2011, 96 years after Danish ladies bought the vote. She says Danish self-perception has made it laborious for the nation to imagine it’s vulnerable to the identical types of sexual abuse that the U.S. has seen. The previous premier additionally factors to a widespread suspicion of political correctness in Denmark.

In opposition to that backdrop, Denmark’s parliament grew to become an atmosphere by which these in energy have been typically deaf to complaints by ladies, in keeping with allegations by its feminine employees.

Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, a 22-year-old Danish member of the European parliament and one of many 322 signatories of the letter, says there’s been an inclination to simply accept sexual harassment in Denmark.

“However my technology has a clearer sense of the place the boundaries must be,” she stated by cellphone.

The Overseas Minister

Frederiksen, who leads the identical Social Democrat celebration that Thorning-Schmidt as soon as ran, now wants to reply to allegations that she tried to speak down issues over her overseas minister, Jeppe Kofod. In 2008, Kofod was a high-ranking Social Democrat who was the celebration’s consultant on quite a few parliamentary committees. The 15-year-old he slept with was member of the junior wing of the Social Democrats. She was simply throughout the authorized age of consent that prevented the act being a criminal offense.

Kofod apologized publicly on the time and Thorning-Schmidt, who was celebration chair in 2008, stripped him of his duties. Again then, she was criticized for being overly harsh by, amongst others, Frederiksen.

Frederiksen defends her resolution to help Kofod by referring to his public apology. “I believe it’s essential that if one makes a critical mistake, which is what that is, that one apologizes and distances oneself from it. And there’s nothing extra to say,” she informed broadcaster TV2.

However Denmark’s new-found consciousness across the concern of sexual victimization has solid the incident in a brand new gentle.

“These in management roles who helped cowl up such circumstances must ask themselves whether or not they’re part of the answer, or a part of the issue,” Thorning-Schmidt stated.

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