Exposing white Finnish privilege #81: Racializing crime, perpetuating stereotypes and racism

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Treat with tweezers whenever percentage figures are used to depict sexual assault cases by migrants.

government-commissioned study published Thursday concluded that migrants are over-represented in suspected sexual assault crimes, perpetuating a toxic narrative. Such generalizations give ammunition to Islamophobes like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party to maintain and reinforce racist stereotypes. 

To look at how the Finnish media reported the study, we’d have to look at what the media and study did not mention. 

Read the full story here.

For one, the study cites suspected sexual assault cases but also mentions convictions. The media took the bait and cited with gusto suspected cases and concluded that “migrants are overrepresented” in sexual assault crime, accounting for 37.5% of all cases. That compares to 57.4% of sexual assaults by Finns.

In Finland, as in other Western countries, a person is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

The total number of sexual assault cases against adults in 2020 was 1,241, accounting for 57.4% (712 white Finns) and 37.5% (529 migrants) of such cases, respectively. Contrarily sexual crimes against children were 79.3% (789) and 206 (20%).

What is surprising in the study is how a minority of suspected sexual crimes ever get convictions. It was only 12.9% of all cases (1,450) for adults and for sexual crimes against children 13.7% (1,709) in 2019.

One of the big lies about sexual assault in Finland is that asylum seekers, mostly Muslims, are the overrepresented group. The study, however, shows that the majority of suspected sexual assault crimes are committed by Northern Europeans. In 2020, suspected cases for sexual crimes against adults and children stood at 58.9% and 80.6%, respectively. The corresponding figures for “Western Asians” (the Middle East and Egypt) were 20.3% and 5.6%.

The study found that sexual assaults by second-generation Finns were minimal.

One explanation the researchers of the study state is that there is a connection between sexual crime and war. If this were the case, and why wouldn’t it be a factor, does it explain who war forced a spike in sexual assaults by Finnish men who returned from the front during the Winter (1939-40) and Continuation War (1941-44)?

Considering that most of the suspected sexual crimes in Finland are committed by Northern Europeans, why are asylum seekers (code for Muslim) portrayed as perpetrators of sexual crime in Finland? This narrative is so strong in the political jargon that it has helped Islamophobic parties like the PS to lure votes.

In addition to stoking fear toward Muslims and other non-EU citizens, racializing crime and perpetuating racist stereotypes worsens ethnic tensions and retards these people’s adaption to Finland.

White Finnish privilege #81

No sensible person will commit sexual or any other form of crime against a single member of our society. However, we should forcibly condemn the manipulation of statistics to maintain racist stereotypes of different groups.

Sexual assault statistics are a perfect example of this abuse.

They should be used to address the causes of such a terrible crime.

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