World

Swedes talk about sexual encounters online

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

In the wake of a nationwide debate over the validity of the rape charges leveled against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Sweden, a blog grappling with the “grey area” between consent and rape has many Swedes going online to tell the world about their various sexual encounters — outside the scrutiny of a legal lens.

The blog, titled “Prata Om Det,” meaning “Talk About It,“ arose organically in mid-December when feminist blogger Johanna Koljonen began tweeting about a sexual encounter in which she felt violated.

From that starting point she urged others to tweet their stories under the hashtag #prataomdet (#talkaboutit). Within a day the feed exploded with various stories, all with sex at the center.

The stories have come together on the Prata Om Det blog where so many Swedes are posting their stories the site has had to warn that some might not make it on the site.

Prata Om Det heralds the blogs openness, while men like Assange must face the law, these bloggers are able to come to terms with their various sexual exploits in front of their computers.

“We need a language for sex that isn’t stifled by shame, we need to think about our boundaries as well as others’. Something is going to change. We are going to dare to #talkaboutit”, read one post.

The initial story teller, Koljonen, wrote about the success of her initiative.

“Men write, women write. Victims of brutal rapes write and people who are embarrassed because they can’t sexually satisfy their spouses write,” Koljonen blogged. “I’ve read descriptions here about feelings and situations I have never encountered in literature or the media before, yet recognize absolutely. Many of the stories make me cry, but I feel oddly elated. I’ve come to think the most powerful sentence in any language is ‘I have never told anyone about this before.’”

The blog will likely have no bearing on Assange’s case — after all Sweden’s rape laws are among the most stringent in the world — but it has opened the floodgates for debate about where the line lays between consent and assault.