This week’s A-Studio report on the ”high” number of rape convictions of foreigners in Finland, and another one published by Tampere-based daily Aamulehti in April, not only shed light on “a problem” in Finland but expose the prejudice of the media and Finnish society concerning immigrants.
The exact arguments that the above-mentioned stories use to drive home their point are eerily similar to those spread by Finland’s anti-immigration groups.
A-Studio uses 25 rape convictions during the first five months of the year to suggest that there is a ballooning rape problem in Finland by foreigners.
While rape, like any crime, must be strongly condemned by society, such statistics should not be used to reinforce our prejudices of certain groups. This I believe is the underlying problem of both reports by A-Studio and Aamulehti.
Migrant Tales found out in spring that the author of the Aamulehti story, Toni Viljanmaa, is a freelance journalist. Did he offer the story to the daily on sensationalist grounds in order to get it published? We don’t know.
Whenever journalists begin to editorialize their news stories in order to drive home their personal views, it’s the credibility of the story that is undermined. Taking into account that a lot of journalist at YLE are card-carrying members of different political parties, we do not know what sympathies the journalist of the A-Studio report, Tuomas Kerkkänen, may have for the Perussuomalaiset (the Finns Party).
After the A-Studio report was published on Wednesday, tabloids such as Iltalehti picked it up and asked if sex education shouldn’t form part of the immigrants’ integration program.
While new information is always essential for a newcomer in order to read more effectively the cultural codes of a group, these types of stories, which were even published by Joensuu-based daily Karjalainen, are just as offensive as the A-Studio and Aaamulehti stories. They imply that foreign men are prone to rape due to their ethnic background.
While most rapes are committed by white Finns in this country, why aren’t the backgrounds of these convicted rapists revealed with the same enthusiasm? Are men in Eastern Finland more inclined to rape than, say, in Western Finland?
Making such a claim would be preposterous especially when there are so few cases to begin with.
Lee Walton (@eclat521) retweeted this blog entry. He writes: “ridiculous- as an immigrant should I have been “taught” that rape is wrong? It’s against the law in UK, & ALL other countries!”