UPDATE: How can a rape of an adolescent visitor happen at the Villa Meri asylum reception center?

by , under Enrique Tessieri, Martin Al-Laji

Migrant Tales published Thursday a story about a list of complaints by an asylum seeker of the Villa Meri reception center of Rauma, located 91 kilometers north of the southwestern city of Turku. The reception the story got was quite a surprise considering that present and former volunteers of Villa Meri accused me of racism, hating and using all asylum seekers, hating all reception center workers, and of having an agenda.

UPDATE: Migrant Tales will have news on the case Saturday.

One of these volunteers even threatened to sue me.

For what? For publishing what an asylum seeker’s list of complaints?

Doesn’t the Villa Meri asylum reception center have any rules about who can speak on behalf of the reception center? If not, it shows that there is either mismanagement or no management at the center.

The same complaints that were given to Migrant Tales in March from asylum seekers at Villa Meri hadn’t changed in November with the horrific exception that a rape of an adolescent was committed.

Migrant Tales was heatedly criticized on Facebook’s Rasmus by former and present volunteers of Vill Meri for asking a sensible question: How is it possible that an adolescent visitor gets raped at the center?


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To that question, we heard some of the most incredible excuses like it’s not the job of the staff to watch over asylum seekers and visitors like children. The staff isn’t  responsible for what happened hto the adolescent, was echoed by another visitor.

While the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) doesn’t give recommendations to asylum centers on how to improve security, it’s the security guards job at the center to ensure the staff’s and asylum seekers’ safety.

I’d be very surprised if an exhaustive investigation isn’t being conducted now to find out why an adolescent was raped at the center. Even if some claim that the staff and management aren’t responsible for what happened, they are if negligence can be proven.

Some asylum centers in Finland take precautions. One such center in southern Finland does the following:

1) visitors are watched by the staff; (2) corridors are watched by camera; (3) empty rooms are locked (the rape at Villa Meri took place in an empty unlocked room); (4) there are areas of the camp that are off limits to visitors and asylum seekers.

Will such measures prevent a rape? It will make it harder for someone who has rape on his mind.

On top of possible negligence, there’s another factor that incriminates the staff and management. The asylum seekers allegedly warned them that something bad could happen to the adolescent that was raped. They alleged the adolescent had a “bad reputation” (sic!) because she hung around men and boys, which is taboo for single adolescents and women in some Middle East regions.

Why weren’t the warnings of the asylum seekers taken on board and acted upon?

If the asylum seekers are to be believed, relations with the manager of the camp, Päivi Nikkola, are poor as with the staff. Moreover, the camp manager is never around and impossible for the asylum seekers to meet and talk with her.

It may well be that some heads may roll at Villa Meri for what happened.

But the most important matter that we can learn from what happened is to not commit the same mistakes committed at the reception center in Rauma.

The Villa Meri center is run by Hoivapalvelu Metsätähti, a private company owned by Mehiläinen.

 

  1. Yossie

    “The asylum seekers allegedly warned them that something bad could happen to the adolescent that was r.a.p.e.d. They alleged the adolescent had a “bad reputation” (sic!) because she hung around men and boys, which is taboo for single adolescents and women in some Middle East regions.”

    I´m sure you have figured that out already. If you say this you get labeled as racist. Saying asylum seekers would cause danger to other people is fear mongering. Isnt that what you preach in here Migrant tales?

    We have been told asylum seekers are just like us except they have different skin color and like different food. That needs to change. Finnish girls should be told what you said in this blog. Asylum seekers think normal finnish behavior make finnish girls have bad reputation and target for r.a.p.e.

    If you are so aware of how asylum seekers see finnish girls, why do you think that kind of culture is such a great thing to have in here? Do you think it will enrich finnish culture? Don’t you understand that is a reason why middle-eastern people are not wanted here?

    • Migrant Tales

      Yossie, the big difference is that you label ALL asylum seekers, like in the comment, of being rapists and criminals. I don’t do that. Your comment is full of these types of prejudices.

      People who come from war zones may experience different things that Muslims from peaceful zones may experience. Get it? It’s not labeling everyone.

      Moreover, the Villa Meri asylum center is, in my opinion, poorly managed. What happened there plus the complaints by asylum seekers of the management and staff is proof of what I said.

    • Yossie

      “They alleged the adolescent had a “bad reputation” (sic!) because she hung around men and boys, which is taboo for single adolescents and women in some Middle East regions.””

      Read what you said, TABOO. Implying there is social restriction. As such it is something that majority of people believe in. Sure, maybe not all, but a good deal of them. Do you not feel any bit concerned that people coming here have a such taboo? Is it something we want here?

  2. Mark

    Yossie – you do realise that at least in reference to Syrian refugees that the number of rapes per 100,000 in 2008 (prior to the war) were 0.8 in Syria and 15.2 in Finland? Yes, that’s 15 times more prevalent.

    Yep, the figure isn’t to be take as gospel – rape in both countries is underreported, for various reasons. But it’s at least some kind of marker. Rape is a statutory crime in Syria, btw.

    Also, it is only in recent decades in Finland and in other EU countries that blaming of the rape victim has changed significantly. It was often discussed how women were seen as being provocative, either through dress or through being too ‘friendly’. Still, rape by Finnish men has still not been eliminated – so there is some way to go here too.

    Do you really think this is only a problem of Muslim men? Don’t you rather believe it is a problem of ‘some’ men, and that all countries need to work extensively to change attitudes of men to women and to ensure women are supported legally? I’m quite happy for you to advocate for reform in Muslim countries, but are you also advocating for reform in Finland too? Have you ever been involved in actions to support women from men’s violence or abuse here in Finland? I mean, ever (thumbs up if you are, btw)?

    Or is rape only an issue that’s important to you when it comes to talking about immigrant men, or even Muslim men?

    • Yossie

      Mark

      Long time, no comments. Hope you are well.

      I think you are missing my point here. R.a.p.e is condemned so I am not talking about that. The issue I see in this article is that it is a taboo in some middle east regions for women to hang around guys. That it makes the women have “bad reputation”. That is not really the kind of culture I want here.

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