Oslo rape threat higher for ‘russ’

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Police and voluntary organizations in Oslo have warned of the dangers and consequences of rape in the light of recent high profile cases and the beginning of the party season for graduating high school graduates known as ‘russ’. Despite this, the first rape incidents of the ‘russ’ season were reported on Sunday night.

The annual partying season known as 'Russ' sees participants wear red or blue trousers, and buy and redecorate party buses. But the serious threat of rape is what police want to get through to partygoers. PHOTO: Views and News

A number of rapes were reported during ‘russ’ season in recent years, and the tension rose in the past few months after six rapes in the capital in April alone, with four occurring in just a few hours on the night of April 3. The Norwegian Red Cross has even given out 5,000 free attack alarms to young women in Oslo – but the news of a rape at the start of  ‘russ’ will have done little to allay fears.

‘Respect limits’
Police in Oslo have released official advice on rape to those involved in ‘russ’ in the capital. “We know from earlier research that alcohol and rape often come together,” said Hanne Kristin Rohde, leader of the rape and sexual crimes department in Oslo police district, who told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that recent rape issues in the capital were “very, very serious and completely unacceptable.” “When the party is over for the night, there can be outsiders that stand and wait,” she commented in newspaper VG.

Rohde aimed as much advice at men as at women. Directing her comments to the male participants in ‘russ,’ she advised them that they should “not let anyone who is excessively drunk be left alone.” She asked men to “respect limits” and “remember that even if a girl has flirted with you earlier in the evening, that gives you no right to rape her a few hours later.”

Kaja Stautland Ivarsøy, an 18-year-old who is involved in this year’s ‘russ,’ told VG of how she and her friends “have divided ourselves into groups of three that will never leave each other.” She added that “if something happens, one will run for help and the other will stay together with the person being attacked.”

5000 attack alarms go out
Ivarsøy confirmed that she is one of many young women who had bought or been given attack alarms (also known as rape alarms) recently. At the end of last week, volunteers from the Norwegian Red Cross gave out 5,000 attack alarms to young women in Oslo. The move was intended to address the fear created after the recent high profile rape attacks in the capital.

Investor Christian Ringnes paid for the attack alarms. Speaking to NRK, he said that “when there was an opportunity to do something concrete, I thought ‘why not’.” He believes that “if this can save as much as one single women from such a horrible situation, it will be worth it.” While recognizing that the alarms were not “a universal solution” to an “all too big and complex” issue, he hopes that they will “give a sense of security” and “much bigger” chance of escape for those finding themselves attacked. Ringnes said that “Norway has been a very safe country, and I hope that it will continue to be,” adding that “with to daughters in the relevant age group, I have become very engaged with these issues.”

Police officer Rohde agreed that the rape alarms were a good idea as “creating a racket could help,” especially as defense sprays might be less useful when attacked from behind.

Three suspected of rape
Despite the warnings and countermeasures, news reports came on Sunday night of three teenagers being accused of raping an 18 or 19 year-old women at a ‘russ’ party in Tryvann, Oslo. The women reported being raped in a tent in a nearby forest. The three suspects deny involvement.

Rohde told NRK that police are still searching for “a young man from Lillestrøm who is also ‘russ’ and was outside the tent when the rape happened.” She confirmed that while “it was a little unclear what had happened,” the women and the three suspects “were strongly under the influence of alcohol.” In parties in the same location on Friday and Saturday night, there were reportedly two attempted rapes.

The security leader on the Oslo and Akershus board for ‘russ’ activities, Ingvild Lund, described the events as “frightening.” She informed NRK that guards had been present at Tryvann but not around the tent area, a place where she believes they should have been “even if it means that people that are sleeping in the tents can be awoken.”

AdTech AdViews and News from Norway/Aled-Dilwyn Fisher
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