You’re on notice, Sweden. You are supposed to be the land of gender equality, meatballs and easy-to-assemble LACK coffee tables. So what is this about a school principal telling a teenaged student who was raped that “guys do this kind of thing, you have to get used to it?”
According to The Local, a Swedish newspaper, a female student at a high school in Taby was raped and then almost raped again by a male student in February and March 2011. Encouraged by a fellow classmate, she told the principal about the incidents. And in front of the female student and another staff member, a complaint to the country’s Equality Ombudsman explains, the principal told the girl:
“You can file a police report if you want, although this is not a prioritized case as no serious crime has been committed. … Guys do this kind of thing, you have to get used to it.”
Oh, but it gets worse.
The female student told her mother about the principal’s remarks. The mom called the principal, as any good mom would. So the principal reportedly told the student’s mother that her daughter “should concentrate on her studies” and “to stop focusing on these trivialities.” (Trivialities! She was raped!) Thankfully, the daughter filed a police report alleging rape and attempted rape. She also no longer attends that high school.
This isn’t just about an adult having bad judgment when approached by a child: the privileging of male behavior — “guys do this kind of thing, you have to get used to it” — has no place in society at large, but even less of a place in a high school, where young minds are being incubated. It is interesting that The Local does not say whether the principal was male or female, although it scarcely matters. What actually matters is that the student was looking to report a classmate’s criminal behavior and, it seems, ask for advice on what to do next and that the principal wanted to brush the whole thing under the rug.
It’s likely that the principal didn’t want any negative attention drawn to the school, but that doesn’t excuse the sexist (and heartless) comments. Look at how it has blown up, anyway, despite trying to downplay it! (Just like Penn State, you even could say.) Really, this principal should have just kept his or her mouth shut. Instead of sharing his opinions about what constitutes a “serious” crime, how about helping the young female student who was victimized?
For shame, Sweden. This principal and the “hurt feelings report” football coach should be sent to Antarctica where the only things they have dominion over are penguins, not children.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.