Another social media storm of comments about harassment and discrimination has swept through Norway this week, raising questions about just how egalitarian the country really is.
Thousands of women have shared stories of sexual harassment via the Twitter campaign #jegharopplevd (I have experienced…), and the response has taken even its initiator by surprise. Charlotte Myrbråten, debate editor at the magazine Fett, launched the campaign to show solidarity with women who have experienced sexual harassment.
The sheer numbers of those sharing their stories and describing their experiences indicates that Norwegian men aren’t as egalitarian or liberated as many would like to think. One temporary employee at a local company who hoped for a full-time job wrote that she was asked to perform as a stripper at the company Christmas party. A 16-year-old who did cleaning work at a local bus station wrote about how male colleagues told her about “what they’d like to do to me,” while others wrote that the shocking Twitter reports prompted them “to sit down and have a talk” with their own teenage chilidren.
“It’s depressing reading,” Myrbråten told newspaper Dagsavisen. “At the same time, it’s encouraging that so many are coming forward with their stories … no one can say women are just making this up or exaggerating.”
Norway’s government minister in charge of equality and family issues, Solveig Horne, joined the debate, writing that the Twitter campaign “brings strong and important stories into light. Discrimination, harassment and violence shall not be part of women’s lives!”