The discussion on #metoo has only just begun

27.02.2018

Image: Yadid Levy/norden.org

The #metoo campaign has awoken many memories. Memories that one would rather have buried, but never could. Memories of a speeding and fearful heart, of sweaty hands placed where they should not, of a sex pressed against your thigh in an elevator or hurtful words and humiliating comments.

But #metoo has also made us women talk openly about sexual harassment and sexual abuse. We have shared the memories which we’ve often kept to ourselves, and we have proven that which we knew all along, that sexual harassment is an epidemic found in our daily lives, an epidemic that is never latent but which flares up and casts ugly shadows on our society and that scars for life. That no woman is vaccinated against this epidemic, regardless of age. The testimonies that arose from the #metoo campaign show that this type of offensive treatment – especially affecting girls and women – is widespread in the Nordic countries. The harassment is everywhere in our community and the field of culture is definitely no exception.

For several decades, the Nordic Region has served as inspiration in gender equality for other countries, often at the top of global rankings with regards to this. At the same time we cannot boast and say that the job is done when women in Sweden, in industry after industry, have called out “enough”. In Norway, both actors and musicians have signed an appeal against this treatment, while in Iceland politicians and actors have spoken out as witnesses to abuse. In Finland, women in the cultural sector have signed an appeal and testified of broken boundaries and offensive behavior and the Finland-Swedish hashtag #dammenbrister [red: translates to “the dam is breaking” – a reference to the Finland-Swedish community which often refers to itself as the ‘duck pond’] has collected more than 6000 signatures. Also in Denmark, female singers have testified of abuse and harassment.

Sexual harassment and abuse is not a private matter, it is a societal problem. It shows women and men are not fully equal in the society. And no, of course, ALL men do not grope, harass or use others bodies without permission. But almost all women have been exposed to this behavior. When nearly half of everyone in a society is affected, it is the other half that need to put an end to the harassment and abuse. The problem of sexual harassment should be addressed on a broad political front, but it is also our responsibility to address the structural problem. I am pleased that the Finnish Parliament has debated sexual harassment. And I am pleased that the Swedish minister of culture has taken a strong stand against harassment and abuse. The fact that the Nordic prime ministers discussed #metoo during a ministerial meeting in Helsinki was also very welcome and I look forward to see how Sweden will be taking the matter further and what proposals for action will be presented in the coming year when the Swedes hold the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

We can start by reviewing our own work community, associations and organizations, and ensuring that we have a plan for how to identify harassment and how to deal with these issues. And we must continue to talk about sexual harassment. The #metoo campaign has served as an eye opener, now we have all responsibility to use this knowledge. Together we can create a society where girls and women, boys and men are respected and feel safe and heard by others. A society where no one laughs at a friend’s questionable story or turns a blind eye when he or she can see that the woman sitting opposite them obviously does not want the stranger’s hands on her breasts. Together, we can also raise future generations in a way that makes them respect others bodies, to boldly face unpleasant situations and to be responsive and respectful. Then we deserve to be an inspirational example on the road towards equality in eyes of the world.

NIKK (Nordic Information on Gender) has done a survey of what legislation applies in the Nordic countries when it comes to sexual harassment. The survey can be found here.

 

WRITTEN BY: Anna Jungner-Nordgren, Communications Advisor, Norden i Fokus Finland.

Cookie Policy for Nordic Culture Point

What Are Cookies

As is common practice with almost all professional websites this site uses cookies, which are tiny files that are downloaded to your computer, to improve your experience. This page describes what information they gather, how we use it and why we sometimes need to store these cookies. We will also share how you can prevent these cookies from being stored however this may downgrade or ‘break’ certain elements of the sites functionality.

For more general information on cookies see the Wikipedia article on HTTP Cookies. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_cookie)

How We Use Cookies

We use cookies for a variety of reasons detailed below. Unfortunately in most cases there are no industry standard options for disabling cookies without completely disabling the functionality and features they add to this site. It is recommended that you leave on all cookies if you are not sure whether you need them or not in case they are used to provide a service that you use.

The Cookies We Set

In order to provide you with a great experience on this site we provide the functionality to set your preferences for how this site runs when you use it. In order to remember your preferences we need to set cookies so that this information can be called whenever you interact with the page. For example whether the welcome banner is displayed on the main page is affected by cookies.

Third Party Cookies

In some special cases we also use cookies provided by trusted third parties. The following section details which third party cookies you might encounter through this site.

This site uses Google Analytics which is one of the most widespread and trusted analytics solution on the web for helping us to understand how you use the site and ways that we can improve your experience. These cookies may track things such as how long you spend on the site and the pages that you visit so we can continue to produce engaging content.

For more information on Google Analytics cookies, see the official Google Analytics page. (https://www.google.com/analytics/)

We also use social media buttons and/or plugins on this site that allow you to connect with your social network in various ways. For these to work, the specific social media sites will set cookies through our site which may be used to enhance your profile on their site or contribute to the data they hold for various purposes outlined in their respective privacy policies.

Disabling Cookies

You can prevent the setting of cookies by adjusting the settings on your browser (see your browser Help for how to do this). Be aware that disabling cookies will affect the functionality of this and many other websites that you visit. Disabling cookies will usually result in also disabling certain functionality and features of the this site. Therefore it is recommended that you do not disable cookies.

More Information

Hopefully that has clarified things for you and as was previously mentioned if there is something that you aren’t sure whether you need or not it’s usually safer to leave cookies enabled in case it does interact with one of the features you use on our site.

Please let us know if you have questions or comments. (https://www.nordiskkulturkontakt.org/en/contact-us/)

This Cookies Policy was created with the help of the CookiePolicyGenerator.com