Swedish retail chain Kjell & Company have claimed that they are selling pepper spray at a record pace after a wave of rape attacks hit the national headlines over the summer.
The company say they expect sales of the self-defence item to increase by 90 percent in August compared to the start of the summer in June, while pepper spray manufacturer Plegium says they have also experienced an explosion in sales, Swedish newspaper Expressen reports.
Plegium said that they have seen increased sales over the last three years in Sweden but the summer of 2019 has been different, with the company saying sales this summer had “officially exploded.”
The self-defence retail website Bodyguard also claimed they had seen an increase in sales of up to 21 percent in July compared to July of 2018, noting that the increase came despite more competition in the self-defence marketplace.
Expressen reports the remarks of 23-year-old Carolina Tuula, a resident of the city of Uppsala, which has seen a number of assault rapes in recent weeks. The threat of rape attacks was deemed so serious that police encouraged women not to go out to parks or alleys in the area at night alone.
Tuula said she bought pepper spray to have a tool to make her somewhat safer but was hesitant to say that owning the self-defence item made her feel safer in general but admitted, “I bought a spray for my girlfriend because she will also move to Uppsala.”
Sweden is not the only country to have seen a rise in pepper spray sales. In 2016, German retailer DW began to carry pepper spray after a large demand from the public.
In December of that year, police in neighbouring Austria handed out 6,000 pocket rape alarms following a wave of rape attacks on New Year’s Eve the year prior.
The volume of the rape alarms, 120 decibels, was also used by female German activists as part of the 120dB campaign which aimed at highlighting sex attacks and violence committed by asylum seekers and other migrants since the height of the 2015 migrant crisis.