We often get to hear that Sweden does not have a good record of prosecuting rape cases, but this is not borne out by the statistics.
Sweden has a very high number of reported rapes: 46.5 per 100,000 members of the population, which is far above all other European countries. Sweden surpasses Iceland, with 36, and England (including Wales), with 26.
There is some debate about the reason for these high figures, but most people accept that it is not because Swedish men are particularly prone to rape, and getting more and more prone to it as the years pass. Rather, the probable explanation is that Swedish women are more likely to report rape.
What is not often highlighted is the fact that Sweden still manages to achieve convictions in a relatively large proportion of rape cases.
Based on 2007 figures, Sweden’s rape convictions per head of population were three or four times above the European average. In other words, Sweden convicted men of rape three or four times more often than the European average. That’s pretty high!
Analysing some more recent statistics from 2009 confirms this. The figures show that in Sweden there are 46.5 reports of rape per 100,000 members of the population, while in England there are 26 reports of rape. Sweden has a conviction rate of 10% - that is, 10% of reported rapes result in a conviction. England, by contrast, has a conviction rate of 6% (see Stern Review of Rape Reporting, page 43)
That means that in Sweden 4.65 people are convicted of rape per 100,000 members of the population, while in England only 1.56 are convicted. So,Sweden has almost three times more rape convictions than England per head of population.
Or could there be another explanation?
How has Sweden managed to achieve this, when it is notoriously difficult to prosecute rape cases? Are Sweden’s police and prosecutors especially efficient? They might be, but still, the problems of prosecuting rape are the same the world over – in particular the lack of evidence apart from the word of the alleged victim.
A womans word is all it takes. And the burden of proving your innocence lies solely on you. And even if you should succeed chances are that they will send you away anyway. So you gotta ask yourself. Is a few minutes in heaven worth a couple of years in hell?