Swedish women set up vigilante ‘molestation guards’ in public pools to protect young swimmers in the wake of migrant sex attacks
- Swedish woman set up ‘molestation guard’ at local swimming pool
- Siri Bernhardsson, 24, grew tired of reports of sexual assaults at pools
- Her initiative ‘The Groping Guard’ has now spread to other Swedish cities
- Follows reports of sexual assaults by asylum seekers in public pools
By Sara Malm for MailOnline
Published: 09:42, 17 February 2016 |
A female vigilante group has been set up in Sweden to patrol public swimming pools in the wake of a number of alleged sexual assaults on children and young women
Siri Bernhardsson has set up ‘Tafsvakten’ – The Groping Guard – after growing tired of reports of rapes and molestations at public pools in the country.
The 24-year-old from Kalmar says the group is needed because women and children in Sweden no longer feel safe going swimming.
Viligante: Siri Bernhardsson, 24, from Kalmar says her vigilante ‘Groping Guard’ group is needed because women and children in Sweden no longer feel safe going to public swimming pools
‘The news is practically flooded with articles about molestations and rapes on Sweden’s public pools, I have had enough,’ writes Miss Bernhardsson on her Facebook group ‘Tafsvakten’ [The Groping Guard].
Last weekend, Miss Bernhardsson and her fellow ‘Groping Guards’ spent the day in the Kalmar Adventurebaths.
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She says the point of the group is to be extra pairs of eyes and ears in the aquatics centre, and to be there to support women and children if they feel unsafe.
‘It makes me sad that many women choose not to go to the swimming pool out of fear that something might happen,’ Miss Bernhardsson told Aftonbladet.
She says she has been contacted by a number of women, confirming that many feel unsafe at her local pool, and the initiative has since gained momentum.
Protectors: Miss Bernhardsson set up Tafsvakten’ – The Groping Guard – after growing tired of reports of rapes and molestations at public pools in the country.
Miss Bernhardsson has received donations to pay for her entry fee at the swimming pool in Kalmar, and other women have set up their own ‘Groping Guards’ in other Swedish cities.
However, not everyone is pleased with Miss Bernhardsson’s initiative, and she has been criticised by the management at her local aquatics centre.
‘We do not want a private person coming in and acting like a life guard and having that kind of contact with out guests at our establishment, said Kalmar Adventurebaths’ operative chief Susanne Gryfelt.
Ms Gryfelt added that there had only been one report of an assault of a sexual nature in recent months.
Miss Bernhardsson’s initiative follows a number of reported incidents at public swimming pools in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe involving male migrants and refugees.
In January, a number of girls reported being sexually assaulted by young male asylum seekers at a public swimming pool in central Stockholm.
Miss Bernhardsson’s initiative follows a number of reported incidents at public swimming pools in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe involving male migrants and refugees attacking children and young women (stock image)
The four cases all involved girls under the age of 18, who claim they were sexually assaulted by migrant teenage boys at Eriksdalsbadet, the biggest aquatics centre in Stockholm,.
‘We do not wish to point fingers to a specific group, but we are talking about boys without a parent or guardian,’ Stockholm City police chief Elisabeth Anestad told Swedish media last month.
On popular demand: ‘Groping Guards’ are now being set up in other Swedish cities
Another case which send shock-waves across the continent saw a ten-year-old boy raped by a 20-year-old Iraqi migrant in a swimming pool in Austria.
The attacker claimed he raped the boy because he had ‘too much sexual energy’ and it was a ‘sexual emergency.
The victim had to be hospitalised with serious injuries and his mother, herself an immigrant who came from Serbia in the 90s, said regrets teaching her children to be welcoming to migrants.
This comes after migrants were banned from a historic swimming bath in Germany after a gang of men were caught on camera masturbating in a hot tub and sexually assaulting women.
Several other men were seen ’emptying their bowels’ in the children’s end of the main swimming pool at the Johannisbad baths in Zwickau, Saxony.
Management at the historic baths are reportedly no longer allowing migrants into the facilities following the allegations while some local swimmers have stayed away after the incidents.
In response to growing concerns, a leisure centre in Bornheim, North Rhine-Westphalia, became the first in Germany to ban migrants after a schoolgirl was sexually assaulted in a public swimming pool by Syrian teenagers.
Three Syrian boys were arrested in January over the attack at a leisure centre in Munich as the country grapples with growing concerns about sex crimes perpetrated by asylum seekers.
The ban also follows an attack by an 18-year-old refugee on a 54-year-old woman in Bornheim, where he had groped and tried to kiss her.