Pepper Spray Sales In Sweden Have “Exploded” After Spate Of Rape Attacks

 

Translated as literally as possible (with help from DeepL translator from a report in Swedish newspaper Expressen. No translation software is perfect and though my Swedish is rusty I get the sense of what is written and can improve the application’s clunky grammar. You may notice that the Expressen report is rather coy about the ethiic and religious background of the perpetrators in most of these attacks, that is because the paper would face legal sanctions in Sweden for reporting the facts. I am not so coy but chose not to interfere with the original content beyond making it read well — Ian Thorpe.

Following the summer’s attention-grabbing spate of rapes and sexual assaults, the sales of pepper spray for self defence have increased dramatically. The Kjell & Company retail chain believes that it will sell 90 percent more sprays in August than in June. One of the manufacturers, Plegium, has announced that sales this summer have “exploded”.

Sweden has been shaken this summer by a series of violent rapes. The most notable of these have taken place in the University city of Uppsala, where two completed rapes and two attempted rapes took place between 3 and 7 August. After the incidents, police called on the city’s women to avoid parks and alleys.

The sexual offences have provoked reaction from political reactions from political figures, most notably Christian Democrats Party (KD) leader Ebba Busch Thor, who herself is from Uppsala. “As insecurity grows, it is nothing but a welfare failure,” the KD leader wrote on Instagram.

Between March and July 2019, a suspected serial rapist attacked women in Rågsved in Stockholm. Two of the assaults ended with complete rape — and the events created terror among women in the area.

Other examples of the summer’s rape epidemic are the case of a teenage boy in Fagersta who was raped and detained by several masked men in June, the woman in central Stockholm who was raped outside her house in August, the assault on a 20-year-old woman in a park in Hällefors the same month, and so on.

Uppsala student Carolina Tuula, 23, bought a spray after the notable rape case in the city earlier in August. When asked did she feel safer with the spray she replied:

“Both yes and no, you never know. It can be difficult to get it fast enough, but you can’t go around worrying all the time. I wouldn’t say that I feel so much safer, but it does feel a little better to have a tool anyway.”

Carolina says she will soon be returning to Uppsala. The unrest in the student city has made her feel more afraid than at home in Gothenburg.

“I bought a spray for my girlfriend, because she will also move to Uppsala.

“- I wouldn’t say that I feel so much safer, but it feels a little better to have a defence weapon, anyway,” she says.

Carolina Tuula is not alone in worrying about assaults. Several retailers and manufacturers of self-defense spray tell Expressen that they have noted an explosive increase in sales.

The Bodyguard website reports that in July, it saw a 21 percent increase in sales compared to the previous year — despite the fact that more retailers are stocking self defence equipment since the market has grown.

Magnus Larsson is the chief forensic scientist in the chemistry and technology section of the National Forensic Center, which is branch of the police. He says that there is a risk people will buy an illegal spray — especially if the product is purchased abroad where the legislation may look different.

Examples of sprays that are illegal in Sweden are pepper spray and tear gas, but people should be aware that certain specific substances tht may be found in sprays are illegal in Sweden. Isopropyl alcohol and menthol are common ingredients. Then there are also colored sprays, whose purpose is to label the attacker. There are also smelly variants, says Magnus Larsson at the National Forensic Center.

According to Magnus Larsson, all of these eight substances have a tear-like effect.

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