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Man-free' music festival proposed in Sweden after spike in reported sexual assaults

A "man-free" music festival has been proposed in Sweden after a spike in sexual assaults at the nation's Bravalla festival (above) led organizers to cancel the 2018 musical event. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Citing a spike in reported rapes and sexual assaults, officials canceled the 2018 installment of Sweden’s largest music festival Bravalla.

“Certain men … apparently cannot behave," organizers told Agence France-Presse. "It’s a shame."

The outlet said there were four rapes and 23 sexual assault reports between last Thursday and Sunday at the festival, which sold about 45,000 tickets. At last year's Bravalla, there were five alleged rapes, AFP noted.

“This is so disgusting. These are obnoxious acts by deplorable men,” Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in televised comments Sunday, the outlet reported. “This must stop."

That said, is there a surer way to avoid the presence of deplorable men than banning men completely? Swedish comedian and radio host Emma Knyckare didn't seem to think so.

Reacting to the reason for Bravalla's cancellation, she tweeted, “What do you think about putting together a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome?” the Washington Post reported. Knyckare added it would exist “until all men have learned how to behave," the paper said.

Soon her words about such a festival took on a more serious tone.

“Sweden’s first man-free rock festival will see the light next summer,” Knyckare said, the BBC noted. “In the coming days, I’ll bring together a solid group of talented organizers and project leaders to form the festival organizers, then you’ll hear from everyone again when it’s time to move forward.”

When asked if it would be unfair to exclude men, she wasn't apologetic.

“Since it seems to be OK to discriminate against women all the time, maybe it’s OK to shut out men for three days? I would not exactly call it an abuse not to come to the festival,” she told Sweden’s Aftonbladet, the BBC reported.

The designation "‘man-free’ offers Knyckare a bit more flexibility than ‘women-only,’" Slate noted, as such a moniker would seem to include transgender women.

At last year's Bravalla festival, law enforcement handed out wristbands emblazoned with the phrase, "Don't Grope," the Post noted.

“We’re hoping mainly that this will get boys to think twice,” National Police Chief Dan Eliasson told TT News Agency then. “A lot of them don’t seem to realize that this is a crime.”

In 2014, at a different summer musical festival — We Are Stockholm, Europe's largest such gathering — refugees molested concertgoers, the Guardian reported, citing internal police memos obtained by daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

“These are so-called refugee youths, specifically from Afghanistan," one police memo said, the Guardian noted. "Several of the gang were arrested for sexual molestation.”

But there were no mentions of sexual harassment or assaults in the official police report, the Guardian added, and no one was prosecuted.

One last thing…
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