Denmark moots sex education for refugees to curb high rate of rape

A large group of migrants, mainly from Syria, walk on a highway towards the north, Rodby, Denmark © Scanpix Denmark
There are calls in Denmark to introduce compulsory sex education programs for asylum seekers arriving in the country amid growing concerns that a disproportionate number of rapes are committed by immigrants and their descendants, local media reports.

Over the weekend, three Eritrean asylum seekers, aged between 21 and 27, were arrested in Hjørring for raping a 25-year-old woman from Eritrea, Eastern Africa. “I can confirm that all those arrested and injured, are asylum seekers from Eritrea,” Police Commissioner Peter Skovbak told Metroxpress.

Between 2003 and 2014, over 34 percent of all individuals convicted of rape (212 out of 615) were immigrants or their descendants, according to the newspaper. At least five asylum seekers were reportedly charged with rape last year. 

A parliamentary majority supports the idea for Danish language courses to include lessons on sexual morality, according to the paper. Several parties point to the success of a similar program in Norway, where asylum seekers are given a five-hour course designed to prevent sexual assaults. Among other things, the class, launched in 2011, reportedly teaches that a kiss is not an invitation to sex.

“We are ready to do everything to get fewer rapes,” Trine Bramsen, member of the Social Democratic Party, was quoted as saying.

Linda Hagen, who runs 34 asylum centers for the Norwegian refugee business Hero Norge, told The Local the program was launched after a series of sexual offences committed by refugees. Part of the reason is that men from sexually conservative countries often misinterpret women's behavior. 

“It’s difficult if you come from a country where women never go out,” Ms Hagen said. “When you see a girl with a short skirt dancing at a party late in the evening, what kind of message will it give you?

It’s important to tell them that this kind of behavior or clothing doesn’t mean that it’s allowed for you to go the whole way. If a girl says ‘no’, it’s a ‘no.’”

READ MORE: EU, Balkan leaders agree on joint plan to tackle wave of asylum seekers

Over 680,000 migrants and refugees have crossed to Europe by sea so far this year, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, according to the International Organization for Migration. The worst refugee crisis since WW2 has driven a wedge between those who support refugees, and those who don't, putting Europe’s reckless “open doors” policy under threat. Germany, which has already accepted more asylum applications than any other European nation, expects between 800,000 and 1.5 million refugees this year alone – over one percent of the population. The crisis has sparked a new wave of Islamophobic and anti-migrant violence in recent months.
Police have recently stepped up security measures in Sweden after a series of suspected arson attacks on refugee centers across the country. Since the start of the year, there have been 14 suspected arson attacks on refugee centers in Sweden, which has one of the most generous welfare systems in Europe.