Teenagers suffer under limitations imposed by cultural traditions

Teenagers suffer under limitations imposed by cultural traditionsStockholm - Many teenagers in Stockholm experience restrictions in their lives due to cultural traditions that violate Swedish law, Swedish researchers said in a new survey.

Almost one in four girls or 23 per cent, said they were expected to be virgins until marriage and were not allowed to have a boyfriend, the University of Stockholm study said.

Many of the teenagers lived in poorer suburbs of the capital and were raised in families that hailed from the Middle East, North Africa including Somalia and Eritrea as well as South-east Asia.

Almost one in six girls or 16 per cent, were not allowed to have male friends and were not allowed to decide who they would marry.

Some 7 per cent of the boys said they were not allowed to decide who they would marry.

Stockholm City Council commissioned the study based on a survey of 2,300 students. Researchers also closely analyzed cases in which teenagers were taken into care, and possible links to honour-related oppression and violence.

One in 10 girls and 4 per cent of boys said their private lives were limited compared to their peers.

More serious violations including threats and violence were experienced by 7 per cent of girls and 3 per cent of boys.

A common limitation was that students were not allowed to take part in education about life skills, swimming or sports.

"We know that the problems are extensive," integration and gender affairs minister Nyamko Sabuni told Swedish broadcaster TV8.

Sabuni maintained that the findings were important. "The more cold facts we have, the more measures we can take."

Stockholm's Social Services Commissioner Ulf Kristersson of the conservative Moderate Party said there was need for more cooperation between authorities to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute alleged violations.

He said: "Adults, not even parents, were allowed to prevent children from living full, independent lives."

Lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who has represented victims of honour-related violence, said she was "tired of the many reports" and wanted more to be done for the victims. (dpa)