Helsinki Police under fire over Facebook rape comments

Helsinki Police made a controversial Facebook post on Monday evening in which they commented positively on an uptick in reports of sexual assault—but then went on to detail what the author feels is “the other side of the coin”: an alleged glut of frivolous complaints.

Image: Yle

The capital’s police department has sparked a vigorous debate on social media after claiming that some rape victims have not thought their actions through properly.

The force has seen a rise in the number of rape complaints, with 309 reported this year in Helsinki. Of those 225 have been investigated and two thirds of those have not gone any further. The department’s Facebook page painted a colourful picture of what officers claim is a frequent occurrence.

“’I feel as though I’ve been drugged and raped’ is one common complaint,” read the original Facebook post on the official Helsinki Police Facebook page. “Drugs are not often discovered during blood tests and the story is littered with words like ‘maybe’ and ‘I suppose’. The complainant often also admits that they’d been drinking a lot, but ‘I would never have gone to bed with them if I’d been sober’.”

That post prompted a storm of protest on social media. It was followed by a second post on Wednesday that began ‘raping an inebriated person is a crime’, emphasised that every rape case should be reported, and provided contact details for the police.

It did again state that false complaints are a criminal offence, but provided no information on how many people were charged with that offence.

Police said that they were trying to reach their target group by using language that might be easier to understand than the stiff, official statements often put out by police in Finland, but apologised for causing offence.