Biggest Weekend: First Aid Kit praise Swedish rape law

By Paul Glynn
BBC Music

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image captionThe duo tackled the issue of sexual assault on their 2017 song You Are The Problem Here

Swedish country-folk duo First Aid Kit have welcomed the new sexual consent laws in their home country.

The Swedish parliament passed a new law this week, saying sex without explicit verbal or physical consent is rape.

Previously, the law stated rape was committed only in instances where a victim was violently coerced or threatened into a sexual act.

"It's about time," said singer Klara Soderberg, who tackled sexual assault in the song You Are The Problem Here.

“We need to do everything we can to protect victims of sexual abuse, assault and rape.

“It needs to be taken to court” added her sister and bandmate Johanna.

“It needs to be taken seriously and I feel like Sweden’s been really progressive about that for a long time.

“There are so many victims and nothing happens and no-one goes to court.

"Anything that can be done to change that is great.”

The new law, due to come into effect on 1 July, means Sweden will join other European countries like the United Kingdom and Germany where sex without consent is considered rape.

The country's musicians were vocal advocates for the change - especially after Sweden's largest music festival, Bravalla, was cancelled following widespread reports of sexual assault at last year’s event.

“It’s a structural problem," said Klara, "and hopefully we change that by talking about it and informing people about the little actions and little sexism that exists in everyday life and build from there.

“But men have to stop raping, that’s the bottom line. It’s as simple as that - but apparently it's not [that] simple."

image captionFirst Aid Kit are one of 120 bands playing The Biggest Weekend

First Aid Kit will play Belfast's Titanic Slipways as part of the BBC's Biggest Weekend festival on Saturday.

The Soderberg sisters told the BBC that they’re a little nervous as they haven't played a gig for month - but they know to keep the set light for a festival audience.

“We’ve definitely learned that we have to keep the energy up for a short festival set," said Klara.

“First time we played Glastonbury for example, we played a big stage and very sad slow songs," added Johanna.

“But I feel like our kind of music has been embraced here in the UK. There’s a lot of love for it."

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