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The New York Times has a very long and detailed article titled Norway Offers Migrants a Lesson in How to Treat Women. Here’s the primary issue:

Henry Ove Berg, who was Stavanger’s police chief during the spike in rape cases, said he supported providing migrants sex education because “people from some parts of the world have never seen a girl in a miniskirt, only in a burqa.” When they get to Norway, he added, “something happens in their heads.”

The statistics are pretty straightforward, and some are outlined in the article. This is a robust and replicated dynamic in Scandinavia; people of “migrant background” are over-represented in rape statistics. It’s an open secret, in that when push come to shove the authorities tend to make excuses rather than lying about it. Though Scandinavians maintain public norms of political correctness, their revealed preferences in terms of self-segregation and ubiquitous “white flight”, illustrate that everyone knows the reality even if they don’t address it out of politic.

Migrants themselves can often be quite frank and astute observers of cross-cultural differences:

“Men have weaknesses and when they see someone smiling it is difficult to control,” Mr. Kelifa said, explaining that in his own country, Eritrea, “if someone wants a lady he can just take her and he will not be punished,” at least not by the police.

Norway, he said, treats women differently. “They can do any job from prime minister to truck driver and have the right to relax” in bars or on the street without being bothered, he added.

Mr. Isdal, the Stavanger psychologist, said refugees, particularly those traumatized by war, represent a “risk group” that is not predestined to violent crime but that does need help to cope with a new and alien environment.

Unfortunately it’s not surprising that the “professionals” are making excuses for these men. All of a sudden males, who are sometimes portrayed in feminist literature as “natural born rapists,” become traumatized by war and no longer responsible for their actions (or at least not as culpable). This turns “victim blaming” on its head. But in a world where white males are the font of all evil non-white males are denied any agency (i.e., conflict and trauma can always be blamed on Western nations somehow).

The reality is that the attitudes expressed by Mr. Kelifa are not that atypical over recent human history. What’s atypical is the sort of gender egalitarianism which is normative in Scandinavia, and to a lesser extent in much of the West and other parts of the developed and developing world. My own suspicion is that in small hunter-gatherer bands the worry of violent rape at the hands of strangers was not a concern, because there were no strangers, and women were often in the close presence of males who were either relatives, or males with whom they were bonded with (in the case of partilocal societies). Norms of extreme sex segregation and minute physical control of women by groups of men probably arose in agricultural societies where contact with strangers became more common, and powerful patriarchies became organized and standardized.

Individualistic Western norms, which are slowly spreading throughout the world, are in some ways a reversion back to norms of the hunter-gatherer period. What we are seeing today is a slow unwinding of the institutional and social scaffolds that arose as cultural adaptations during the long period between the Pleistocene and modernity, when what had been hunter-gatherer clans were thrown together without innate cognitive tools at the scale of the individual to enable social cohesion. But the older cultural norms persist in many contexts even in the West. See the video below, which perhaps should be adapted for migrants….

• Category: Science • Tags: Culture, Rape 
Razib Khan
About Razib Khan

"I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. If you want to know more, see the links at"