Epic failure of the Finnish media in reporting the impact of the Tapanila rape case

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The theory that immigration is responsible for crime, that the most recent “wave of immigration,” whatever the nationality, is less desirable than the old ones, that all newcomers should be regarded with an attitude of suspicion, is a theory that is almost as old as the colonies planted by Englishmen on the New England coast.

—Edith Abbott in the report of the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (1931:23)

A-Studio hosts Markus Liimatainen and Annika Damström invited Sadak Elwan, Kadar Gelle and Maryan Askar to give “their views” on the Tapanila gang-rape case. While this wasn’t the worst example of opinionated and prejudiced journalism, it shows the epic failure of the Finnish media in reporting the impact of the Tapanila rape case. 

Liimatainen cites a National Research Institute of Legal Policy (Optula) study published in 2014, “Immigrants as crime victims and offenders in Finland,” which claims that rapes committed by those born in Africa and the Middle East were 17 times higher than those by native Finns.

Damström, who takes this study as the “ultimate truth” about rape and migrants, asks the guests how they explain such a high rape statistic.

It’s clear that Damström and Liimatainen didn’t do their homework as journalists but apparently allowed themselves to be carried away by tidbits of information that were unreliable to begin in the Optula study.

Even the study that they cite claims that since the statistical information was only provided by the police, we don’t know what the real figures are. Hence, the study is unreliable and cannot be used to give any type of “ultimate truth.”

The reporter doesn’t mention these issues about the study but prefers instead to treat its conclusions as the “ultimate truth.” Anti-immigration groups are making the same conclusions as she.

Näyttökuva 2015-3-22 kello 11.01.57

 

Watch full talk show (in Finnish) here.

Professor Vesa Puuronen of Oulu University spoke to Migrant Tales and said that since the statistical information is only from one source, it has therefore a lot of holes.

“We don’t know how many unreported rape cases there are in this country because many of the rapes committed by Finnish men are against women they know,” he said. “The rape case may never get reported for fear of getting her acquaintance in trouble. How many of these cases are there? We simply don’t know.”

Puuronen said that if anti-immigration groups are using the Optula study to “prove” that certain ethnic groups are rapists, it’s clear that they have a political agenda.

“If journalists use the findings of the Optula study to draw conclusions,” he added, “then that is an example of uncritical journalism and that the journalist hasn’t done his or her job well.”

Puuronen agreed that since the Optula study is unreliable and since it is being used to label and victimize migrants, the researchers of that study should step forward and tell the public that such conclusions cannot be drawn from it.

  1. Yossie

    So basically what you are saying is that the study is wrong because it does not account for these unreported rapes. Somehow you seem to believe that these unreported cases would balance the statistics? So you are saying Finns are raping more people they and Africans would be raping less people they know? How did you end up with these conclusions? Do you have any prove what so ever that these unreported rapes would alter the statistics? Or is just your own political agenda speaking?

    Also, why is that Africans and middle-Easterners are affected by the skewed statistics? They are way above other immigrant groups.

    Then, even if your claim would somehow be true, then it would mean Africans and middle-easterners would be targeting people outside their own group, why would they do that?

    • Migrant Tales

      Hi Yossie, true. It’s unreliable because it only uses cases that have come to the attention of the police. I’m not saying that Finns or migrants are raping more people. All I’m saying is that we don’t have reliable data to confirm the latter. The researchers also state what I said.

      –Also, why is that Africans and middle-Easterners are affected by the skewed statistics? They are way above other immigrant groups.

      Good question. But if you are using these types of statistics, which are unreliable to make a statement about a group, your agenda is political.

    • Yossie

      I would imagine the unreported cases would follow the reported data if you don’t have any reason to believe otherwise. To me it looks like you want to sweep the whole thing under the carpet because you never want to see anything bad in any of the immigrants. I think you have political agenda.

      Why do you think Africans are middle-easterners are over represented in reported cases?

    • Migrant Tales

      No Yossie, I’m not sweeping anything under the rug. If a PERSON is guilty and convicted of a crime then it is that PERSON’s problem – not that of the whole group. You ask why “Africans are Middle Easterners” are over represented in the study. I will give you the answer: You cannot draw such conclusions because the study is faulty to begin with.

      Here is Professor Vesa Puuronen’s comment on the matter from his own blog: http://vesapuuronen.net/Comments.htm

      He states:Please find at the link below my comments on the discussion of rape crimes in Finland. My main point is that since the statistics concerning the number of rapecrimes are faulty, the conclusions based on these statistics can not be justified. For instance the statement that somalis are overrepresented amongst rapists can not be justified. This statement is part of racist agenda, which has been distributed by Jussi Halla-aho and other bloggers already almost ten years. Now it seems that also some respected Finnish media has begun to disseminate this lie.

      http://www.migranttales.net/epic-failure-of-the-finnish-media-in-reporting-the-impact-of-the-tapanila-rape-case/

    • Yossie

      So the numbers are faulty because every single unreported case can’t be accounted for? So basically you want to undermine all possible statistics by police since they can never account for unreported cases.

      Could you explain to me why can’t we extrapolate the results of the reported cases? If you claim unreported cases would alter proportions of the attackers, then you should tell us why you think so.

    • Migrant Tales

      –So the numbers are faulty because every single unreported case can’t be accounted for?

      Right. It means that you don’t have all the information that could effect the result of the study. This study only uses ONE source (the police). The way the data has been interpreted by anti-immigration groups and journalists show more prejudice than a real understanding and willingness to challenge the problem.

      Are 38 rape cases in 2009-13 by a national group enough to LABEL the whole group? If the data is used to label the whole group then there must be some other agenda. And that agenda is purely political with the intention of excluding that group.

    • Yossie

      You still have not explained to me why you think adding the unreported cases would make any difference! I think you are just using the fact that not all cases get reported to sweep the whole thing under the rug so you would not have to ask hard questions. I think you don’t even want to challenge the problem as you don’t even want to recognize the problem!

      “You cannot draw such conclusions because the study is faulty to begin with. ”

      I can draw a conclusion that they are overrepresented in REPORTED CASES! Why does that happen?

    • Migrant Tales

      An unreported case means that not all information and data has been used in the study, which means that it is limited and faulty. If I do research, I want access to ALL information. The more, the better. If I don’t have access to all information I cannot draw the conclusions that some are with the findings of the study you mentioned.

    • Yossie

      “If I do research, I want access to ALL information.”

      Every singe case needs to accounted for until we can make conclusions?! Every case where the victim does not tell everyone about it? What you want is of course impossible. And I suppose that was your aim. Your way to sweep the uncomfortable information under the rug.

      Can we use this logic of yours to other situations? Like political polls would be pretty useless since they don’t have everyone’s opinion. Hell, even elections are useless as everyone’s opinion is not accounted for. I´m sure we can stop talking about racism too as it is impossible to draw any conclusions to any direction since we do not have every single person’s experiences accounted for.

    • Migrant Tales

      Yossie, you would have to use different poll methods like random sampling, for example, to get a reliable result. This is not the case with the Optula study compared with polls. To synthesize what I want to say, a sample has to be representative in some way. Even the Optula study admits in writing that its findings should be used with caution: “Optulan tutkimuksen mukaan afrikkalaisperäisillä maahanmuuttajilla, heidän muassaan somaleilla, on raiskauksista epäiltyjen tilastossa yliedustus, joka ei selity yksin ikärakenteeseen tai sosioekonomiseen luokka-asemaan liittyvillä tekijöillä. Mutta kuten Optula muun muassa varoittaa, tilastot eivät ota piilorikollisuutta huomioon – ja suoria kulttuurisia selittäjiä etnisten ryhmien osalta on varottava vetämästä (ks. linkatussa s. 104–105).”

    • Yossie

      Not commenting then? Well here is some other opinions for you

      http://yle.fi/uutiset/maahanmuuttajien_korkeaan_raiskaustilastoon_ei_loydy_yhta_patevaa_syyta/7877771

      Author of the study commenting:
      “Tilaston pätevyyttä on kyseenalaistettu sillä, että suuri osa suomalaisten tekemistä raiskauksista jää tilastoimatta, koska ne tapahtuvat lähisuhteissa. Oman puolison väkivallasta kerrotaan poliisille harvemmin kuin tuntemattoman tekemästä väkivallanteosta.

      Tämä ei Lehden mukaan kuitenkaan selitä tilastossa esiintyvää suurta eroa maahanmuuttajien ja syntyperäisten suomalaisten välillä. Lehden mielestä taustalla olevia syitä pitäisi tutkia lisää.”

      Other opinions:
      “Dosentti Henrik Elonheimo Turun yliopiston oikeustieteellisestä tiedekunnasta pitää tutkimuslaitoksen tilastoa luotettavana.”

      “Raiskaustapauksia tutkinut oikeuspsykologi Helinä Häkkänen-Nyholm on sitä mieltä, että tilastoa voivat selittää kulttuuriset erot. Maahanmuuttajia tulee maista, joissa mies on edelleen perheenpää. Naiset ovat riippuvaisia miehistään taloudellisesti, joten he monesti elävät myös miesten ehdoilla.”

      So your claim that the study is unreliable doesn’t seem to get support.

    • Migrant Tales

      Here’s what I see happening: You are trying to make an argument that somewhow group x rape more than group y. Is that what you are trying to prove? If it is, you’re off track and have another agenda. Political?

    • Yossie

      “Here’s what I see happening: You are trying to make an argument that somewhow group x rape more than group y. Is that what you are trying to prove? If it is, you’re off track and have another agenda. Political?”

      Let’s see, a study says that and many professionals agree with that, but we should just accept your opinion that there is absolutely no difference between different groups? I think you are the one with the agenda. I guess you are one of the people that think cultural differences can only be positive things. You don’t want to accept the fact that the differences can in fact be negative too.

      One thing we can do is to see what is the situation in problematic groups’ own countries to assess if the statistics make any sense. Oh, but the status of women is much worse there. What a coincidence!

      Like said in the article, this would call for further studies about the matter, however since the outcome might be very uncomfortable truth, I don’t hold my breath for anyone to dare digging into it.

    • Migrant Tales

      Yossie, it’s not only my opinion but that of the researchers who did the study. You cannot draw conclusions like group x is more prone to do x crime than group y. That’s the point. What you are doing is the opposite, or what the researchers recommend against.

      If these statistics are used for political reasons, or to reinforce people’s prejudices, then that’s sad and very bad, especially to the group that is being victimized. Read up on how Finns were treated in Sweden by the media. There’s little to no difference.

      I agree that we have to tackle crime in our society. I hope, as you write, we can not only carry out more reliable studies but find solutions in tackling these types of problems.

    • Yossie

      Like I linked before, one of the authors of the study said the “hidden” cases won’t explain the great difference in statistics. I think you are making a big mistake if you think cultural differences don’t have any effect in these cases. The fact that no one seems to be asking the hard questions. Does the position of women and expectations for them in immigrant communities have anything to do with this? If we don’t ask the hard questions, we are not tackling the problem.

      En finne igen eh? To be honest, in my opinion the biggest problem is the fact that crimes are committed, not the fact that they are reported. Why would you want to hide the facts? If immigrants do little crimes, then there is not much to report right? Not much to complain about. But if there is a lot of cases, then people need to know about them. How can we make our opinion about immigration if the facts are swept under the rug?

    • Migrant Tales

      All human groups commit crimes. No group is free of deviant behavior. Crime is a complex matter and it occurs for a number of reasons.

      –Does the position of women and expectations for them in immigrant communities have anything to do with this?

      I don’t know. Do you?

      Since you are using only one source it means that the study is incomplete. Even the researchers of the Optula study WARN that you cannot use the conclusions to generalize about ethnicity and crime.

    • Yossie

      “Crime is a complex matter and it occurs for a number of reasons”

      But you “know” cultural differences does not have any effect right? What accounts for crime differs between cultures, but seems you don’t want to believe that.

      “I don’t know. Do you?”

      She does: “Raiskaustapauksia tutkinut oikeuspsykologi Helinä Häkkänen-Nyholm on sitä mieltä, että tilastoa voivat selittää kulttuuriset erot.”

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