Veronica Honkasalo is a Helsinki city councilwoman for the Left Alliance who tweeted the following below about the sentence that the five suspects got in the northern Helsinki Tapanila rape case of March: “It’s clear that the sexual offense sentence they got was too mild. There is no such thing as a mild rape. But let’s keep this [case] clear of racism.”
Two of the five suspects were acquitted because they did not take part in the rape.
Writes YLE in English:
The case shocked Finland in March, when the five young men, four of whom were under 18, harassed a woman on a commuter train before following her when she got off and then assaulting her. Their Somali background was widely publicized before they were apprehended, as they were wanted men, prompting an avalanche of racist comment on social media and even anguished debate in more mainstream outlets.
The longest sentence was one year and four months’ suspended jail time, while two of the group were acquitted. The ruling states that the ‘method’ of the crime was not widely known at the time, when immigrant gang rapists were in the headlines. That method was that one of the men held his hand over the woman’s mouth to prevent her calling for help while the other two rapists penetrated her with their hands.
What Honkasalo states in her tweet below is something that I have been thinking about as well. How can we in the present xenophobic and anti-cultural diversity climate find effective solutions to crimes like rape without allowing our animal instincts and racism to get the best of us?
The gang rape that took place in March is a ghastly crime and very uncommon. What those youths did to that young woman effectively destroyed her life.
Thanks to their reckless behavior, those youths also gave fuel to the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party’s hostile campaign against immigrants and minorities before the April 19 elections.
Another factor that helped the PS in the elections was the Charlie Hebdo attack in January.
A recent survey of eight countries by YouGov showed Finland and Sweden to have the most intolerance.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-language names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.