Oslo rocked by wave of rapes

Norway's capital Oslo has seen a sharp increase in cases of outdoor rape, with the number of attacks in 2011 already double the total for the previous year, according to figures compiled by newspaper Aftenposten.

Police in Oslo registered 24 such cases in 2010 compared to 48 so far this year, Aftenposten said.

Opposition politicians are again raising the alarm and making connections to “the porno generation”. An alert has been put out for a “non-Western-looking” suspect after the most recent attack.

“It can not be denied that many of the culprits have an ethnic background with a critical view of women,” Conservative party justice critic Andre Oktay Dahl told TV2.

“We need more visible policing,” he said.

He called for a force of “volunteer police like has been done in Canada”. Others have called for the introduction of a specialized vice squad.

One of Saturday night’s two assaults happened just metres from the pristine palace residence of Norway’s royal family.

TV images of the crime scene of Oslo’s 48th sexual assault of the year showed forensic experts in white coveralls working against the backdrop of the Royal Palace.

A 20-year-old woman was attacked by two men after leaving the company of friends to walk home through Slottsparken palace park. One of her two assailants was described as “dark-skinned and round in the face”.

The same night a 17-year-old girl victim ran nude into the street in a desperate run from her attacker in an Oslo flat. 

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Voices emerge to counter rape stigma

Dark-skinned men in Norway are feeling the stigma of a recent wave of “after hours” sexual assaults in which roughly half of the attackers were asylum seekers from war-torn countries.

Bashe Musse is one of those feeling the negative glare. Musse, a Somali, told broadcaster NRK that  assailants described as Somali in recent rape cases had him worried about the reputation of a community he describes as predominantly law-abiding.

“Not everybody, but a lot of people have put a face to the rapist as a person not of Norwegian extraction," Musse told NRK.

This weekend, he and around 100 others walked around Oslo with volunteer street patrol group the Night Ravens who, with their fluorescent yellow vests, joined police in keeping an eye on the capital’s poorly lit neighbourhoods. Police this weekend doubled the number of beat cops, horse-mounted sections and cruisers in an effort to dissuade would-be rapists.

Although recent research has revealed some 87 percent of rapes reported to police happen inside Norwegian homes, it’s the 13 percent taking place “on the street” or “after clubbing” that have made national headlines this year. The number of such cases reported in Oslo this year has now reached 51, more than double the total for all of 2010, NRK reports.

Many politicians have reacted strongly to the fact that many of those rapes were committed by asylum seekers. In one recent attack, two girls were attacked outside Oslo S train station by five asylum seekers from Central Asia.

“The rapists are raping the entire reputation of immigrants,” Liberal Party MP Abid Raja told newspaper VG.

One of those joining the Night Ravens to make Oslo safer for women was an Asian immigrant who was herself raped in a brutal attack four years ago. Louzia Louhibi, 21, told VG she now asks women walking alone at night if they would like to be accompanied home.

Norwegian police said they were now planning to visit asylum centres to inform newcomers about the criminal consequences of rape in Norway, NRK reports.