Roughly a year ago the global movement we know as #metoo began. Actress Alyssa Milano wrote ‘’If all the women that have been sexually harassed wrote ‘’Me Too’’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem’’.
Famous people within several different fields, such as politicians, media profiles, and even the possibly most well known football player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, have been accused of sexual harassment. Just to name a few. The maybe most famous case in Sweden was when the so called ‘’culture profile’’, with closed bonds to the Swedish Academy, was accused of sexual harassment, and the entire situation led to a crisis in the Swedish Academy. As a result of the crisis, several members left the institution and the Nobel Prize in literature is therefore not handed out this year. The 1st of October, the ‘’culture profile’’ was convicted of rape and sentenced to two years in prison.
As it now is one year since #metoo began, Studentafton invited students in Lund to take part in a panel discussion with Gudrun Schyman, party leader of Feministiskt Initiativ, Ulrika Rogland, lawyer specialized in sexual crimes and Ola Sigvardsson, since 2011 press mediator for the public, about #metoo and what it means for the society we live in today, exactly one year after Alyssa Milano wrote her tweet. The moderator of the panel discussion was Kristin Nord, journalist at Sydsvenskan. I managed to get a good seat just in front of the main stage, and a few minutes after I had my seat, the participants entered the stage.
One question that I wanted to ask Gudrun is why Feministiskt Initiativ did not manage to capitalize on the #metoo-campaign and enter the Swedish Parliament. This question was actually answered by Gudrun in the discussion; she saw the discussion about #metoo in general as depoliticized, even though she was of the opinion that #metoo was highly connected to politics, as she said that #metoo was a result of patriarchal structures within the society as a whole. The way to solve this issue would be to increase the amount gender education in schools and work life, which could be seen as a bit of a contrast to the situation in Hungary, where the government has forbidden gender studies at University level. She also attacked Ebba Busch Thor, party leader of the Christian Democrats, who has said that enough is enough with so called ‘’genusflum’’ in the Swedish school system.
Ulrika Rogland spoke a lot about the amount of reports to the police about sexual harassment and highlighted the issue about the number of women actually reporting. She stated that there are many women who do not dare to report sexual harassment to the police. Therefore, the situation about the ‘’culture profile’’ could be seen as something good, as it could encourage women to report sexual harassment to a higher extent if they would see that reports actually could result in convictions.
Ola Sigvardsson, press Mediator, has been involved within several matters in which media have been accused of being too harsh in different situations and have hungout several people for actions other people have said they have done, with material providing proof that might not have been extensive enough. He highlighted the conviction of the ‘’culture profile’’ as a result of good journalism when 18 different people had accused him of sexual harassment, but when the press start publishing names of people based on loose rumours, things have gone too far. Many newspapers have had to pay heavy fines due to that problem.
A commonly asked question in the Q&A-session following the panel discussion was what one as an individual actually could do. The tip from Gudrun was to actually get involved within the matter, for example within an organization. According to her, it is not enough to press a ‘’like-button’’. She also stated that #metoo needs to result in discussions about how this problem should be faced.
After the panel discussion and Q&A-session, I had hopes to speak with all of the participants in the panel discussion, but both Gudrun Schyman and Ola Sigvardsson had to catch a train and could unfortunately not stay for the press meeting afterwards. However, I did get a few words with Ulrika Rogland and asked her what could possibly be done to reduce the hidden statistics. She said that it is important to highlight good outcomes of reports in media, such as the case with the ‘’culture profile’’. One big problem, however, is that the process in the court takes way too long, and thereby, the evidence of what has occurred is not as strong as it would have been if the process in court would take less time.
But where should we go from here, and how will #metoo continue? Well, this is the million dollar question. Only time will tell, but what can be said for sure is that we have all received an eye-opener during the latest year and the magnitude of the problem- which Alyssa Milano wanted to highlight by establishing the hashtag #metoo- has certainly been understood by many people by now.
Photography: Elisabeth Olsson Wallin