Hate crime - the importance of seeing and acting
The exhibition "Vi&Dom" (Us&Them) at the Regional Museum wants to raise questions and initiate conversation among visitors, not least school children. “The issues of hate crime are unfortunately current. It's something we need to talk more about,” says Helén Lilja at the Regional Museum. The opening ceremony is on Sunday, March 3rd at 2 pm.
"Vi&Dom" was produced at the Police Museum two years ago. Now it’s being shown for the first time outside of Stockholm; in Kristianstad.
– The questions that this exhibition addresses are, unfortunately, current. They are extremely important to highlight, says Helén Lilja, Educator at the Regional Museum.
The exhibition has three sections. Visitors can meet people who have been affected, see the historical development on a timeline and think about how you can act if you are exposed to a hate crime. Or if you see someone else exposed to it. The approach is Feeling, Learning and Acting.
– The foundation of the exhibition is people who have been exposed to hate crimes that share their own stories. Without their courage, we would not have the exhibition, says Michaela Engvall.
There are facts about hate crime. Who is exposed? How many people are exposed? The figures are taken from the National Security Council's latest statistics from 2015.
Most of those affected are under the age of 45. The most common hate crime is xenophobia.
Many crimes are not reported to the police says Michaela Engvall.
– It may be that they are ashamed or afraid, that they do not want to reveal themselves. Or they have seen the abuse as an assault. Not that it was a hate crime.
Hate crime, the law says, will lead to harder punishment. Hate crime is a crime against society's pillar of freedom, openness and equality. People may be exposed to it because of the colour of their skin, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
Why are hate crimes committed? Educator Helén Lilja and Malin Liedberg together with Michaela Engvall are in agreement. Prejudice and ignorance are the main cause.
– When our knowledge increases, at the same time our prejudices and fears decrease, says Malin Liedberg.
A lot of hate crimes are committed today. Are you optimistic for the future?
– Absolutely, says Michaela Engvall. We not only have to live together, we also want to live together. I believe in love.
What is the most important thing we can do to reduce hate crimes?
– We all have to show that we care, says Engvall.
– From the small conversation to whether we become a witness to abuse. We must not be silent.