Student – Victim of Hate Crime

Student – Victim of Hate Crime

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@Tove Nordén
The hate crime incident has changed the student's image of Lund. “Before, I considered this town an open-minded and safe place, but not anymore.” Photo: Tove Nordén.

“I would love to see your dead bodies.” That is what a student and her girlfriend were told as they were passing by holding hands in Lund center town.

A Saturday evening a couple of weekends ago, two young women are on their way home. After having taken a shortcut across a parking lot behind Parentesen, they pass by a group of four men hanging around a car.
One of them is leering at the two women passing by, hand in hand, and says:
“I would love to see your dead bodies after having raped you, watch out!”

He says it in an impartial and serious fashion. The other three men remain silent.
How did you react?
“I was so upset. I replied something, but it wasn’t the right time to confront them, and in hindsight I am glad I didn’t. My girlfriend felt hurt and afraid,” says one of the women, who is a Lund University student and wants to remain anonymous.

What particularly struck them was the fact that the man who threatened them, looked like anybody else.
“Many people wrongly think that skinheads running around town are the ones to do this, but that’s usually not the case. This could as well have been somebody’s coursemate, boyfriend, or brother. They looked like a group of decent guys,” she says.

Two days after the incident, the student reported the threats to the police, which is something she almost refrained from doing.
“I realized it was important not to trivialize incidents like these. Even if recognizing distinguishing features and other details didn’t cross my mind, I believe it’s important that it gets on record,” she says.

After having been subjected to this hate crime incident, her image of Lund has changed. Her initial impression of this town being safe and open-minded is gone. She believes that collaboration within the student sphere could make Lund a more unprejudiced and open-minded place, especially for GLBTQ individuals, like herself.

Hate crimes unusual
Lund police classify the incident as hate crime.
“Hate crimes don’t occur very often in Lund. Lund is a low-ranked community on the Scania list, in comparison to Malmö for instance,” says Local Police Deputy, Håkan Klein, who is in charge of crime investigation operations in Lund.
Why is that?
“I’m not really sure. Maybe people in Lund are more tolerant than people in the rest of the region, and perhaps it stems from the fact there is not a lot of grouping, which is the case in Malmö, where hate crimes occur more frequently.”

Håkan Klein says that the police do not work proactively to prevent hate crimes, since they are not common in Lund. However, if hate crimes do take place it is important to report them, because it leads to the police allocating more resources to hate crime prevention, since they gain more priority, which results in more rigid sentences.

Text: Tove Nordén
Translation: Maximilian Aleman-Tennell

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