Sexual misconduct ’53 times in one year’ for Danish Social Democratic party

Sexual misconduct '53 times in one year' for Danish Social Democratic party
Former Copenhagen mayor Frank Jensen speaks to media in October 2020. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix
Up to 53 members of the Social Democrats, the governing political party in Denmark, have been subjected to sexual misconduct during the last year, according to a media report.

During the last year, 53 party members say they have experienced inappropriate attention which was sexual in nature, according to a report by national broadcaster DR.

An internal survey of party members resulted in 53 people responding that they had been the victim of sexual misconduct within the last year, according to an internal letter detailing the conclusions of the survey and seen by DR. Both men and women were affected by the misconduct, according to the broadcaster’s report.

“This is something we take very seriously,” party secretary Jan Juul Christensen is reported to have written in the letter.

Around 7,000 of the Social Democrats’ 35,000 members in Denmark took part in the survey.

“I am surprised that 53 said yes to whether they have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour during the last 12 months. That should not be the basis (of results),” Christensen told DR.

“You can say that we have something we need to do something about. The debate over the last six months has shown that,” he added in reference to the reignited #MeToo debate in Denmark.

Sexism and harassment became a major topic in Denmark in August 2020 – dwarfing the country’s original 2017 #MeToo debate — when presenter Sofie Linde, a household name, stunned viewers of a live TV gala by recounting how a senior television executive offered to advance her career in exchange for oral sex, 12 years earlier.

1,600 women later signed an open letter declaring that they had experienced sexism during their careers. Prominent political figures including former leader of the Social Liberal party Morten Østergaard and Copenhagen mayor Frank Jensen, a Social Democrat, lost their jobs after women went public with accounts of sexual harassment.

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Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has admitted that her party has a problem with sexual harassment and sexism but denied the issue within the Social Democrats was “very big”.

“The short answer is yes, there is (a problem). Because every time a person who experiences harassment or unwanted attention – sexual misconduct or derogatory speech or similar – that’s one person too many who has experience it,” Frederiksen told DR.

“That’s why we partly initiated this membership survey so we can have the problem clarified. It is not (a) very big (problem), but it’s there,” she said.


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