Helsinki 2008

"Child abuse is a problem of all social classes"

Suiciderock: As the name "Rokkaa Lasten Hyväksikäyttöä Vastaan" reveals already your organisation is dealing with a very serious theme. Could you give us some information about what exactly you are doing and what your aims are?
RACPSuomi: We are concentrating on organising concerts in order to raise awareness for this serious topic. We are looking for venues and bands who are willing to cooperate with us and give us their space and/or music, so we can make this topic heard, since nobody seems to really talk about it or have any awareness about it in general.Our most important aim is then to raise awareness as such. Besides we work together with organisation fighting against child pornography and abuse and with our actions we also want to help and support the victims of child abuse. We want the world to know about this sensitive topic, and give out the word that its wrong and we should join forces to fight against child abuse.

Suiciderock: You are a group of students, working very hard for this project. Could you introduce the team?
RACPSuomi: The project started as a group of students, yes. We started with: Susi Arlitt, who comes from Germany, but lives in Finland since two years; Susanna Keinänen, from Finland, but she has lived abroad most of her live ; Linda Sundgren, who has also lived in Germany and Luxembourg all together for 7 years; Katja Khursina, from Russia, but she has lived in Finland for 5 years and Fernando Colombo, from Angola, living in Finland 8 years now. All of us study together Social Services in Helsinki, that is also, how we met.
Now our team is much bigger and before our first annual meeting this year, we got more members in our organisation: Will Torrey from USA, has lived in Finland for 3 years, Sanna Jalomäki who is Finnish, but with Australian roots as well, Miika Salminen and Antti Läppäläinen, who both work for Nitrofoni. We met all of them via internet and we closely worked together already for the first concert, but we’re very happy to have them in our organisation now as well.

Suiciderock: It’s said that it comes to child abuse in every 6th household. Would you agree with that and how does the Finnish government react to raise awareness?
RACPSuomi: This number comes from Germany and we think that we can agree on it. We don’t know exactly the numbers in Finland, since it is really hard to find statistics on the topic. There is the link “Nettivihje” (http://www. pelastakaalapset. fi/nettivihje/tilastot. php), which is developed by Pelastakaa Lapset ry, for people to be able to report online childpornography. In 5 years they have gotten 34262 reports and 12% of those included child pornography. But this is also something we try to reach: We want the people to see the statistics involved and we want to let the victims of child abuse know that they are not alone and that they need to stand up not be afraid to tell someone about their horrible experience.
We haven’t noticed any reactions from the Finnish government as such, although there are laws and legislations ofcourse. But it is rather the organisations which try to raise awareness of the people and also of the government.

Suiciderock: Is child abuse / child pornography only a problem of the poor social class or is it a general problem?
RACPSuomi: We think it is a general problem, which occurs in all classes. As said, unfortunately it is very hard to find any information about this topic; nobody talks about it and rather hushes it down.
Child abuse is a problem in all the social classes. Look at all the celebrities out there being acused of abusing children. Child abuse is a problem in all social classes, all countries and all religions, this is why it is often hard to know the poeple who abuse children. For all we know it could be someone in our own friend cricle.

Suiciderock: You are planning rock concerts with different artists what’s their opinion about your charity work?
RACPSuomi: Most of the artists really stand behind us and support our cause with all their efforts, which we really appreciate. We get a lot of messages from bands and artists, who thank us for the work we do and offering us help and/or their music for our cause. Besides some offer to come to our concerts and promote our cause, which is a huge help for us!

Suiciderock: Is it a charity performance or do they want to get paid for the gigs?
RACPSuomi: It is planned to be a charity performance, yes, but unfortunately we still had to pay a few bands for the first concert. Most of them still played for free and we hope we will find even more for the next gigs.

Suiciderock: I saw that you published how much the people donated on the gigs and that someone went around in the audience to collect the donations. Is there any possibility that supporters can donate money without coming to a gig? Do they have the chance to transfer the money to a donations account?
RACPSuomi: Yes, there is indeed. We will very soon publish the data for our donation account on our homepage www. rokkaalapsille. net, so if somebody wants to help us with donations, they can also do it there. But still we appreciate everybody at the concerts as well!

Suiciderock: Support is extremly important for every charity organisation. Is it difficult to find support for "Rokkaa Lasten Hyväksikäyttöä Vastaan" here in Finland?
RACPSuomi: It was hard at the beginning, since we were only students, not registered then and nobody had heard about us. So in that sense it was hard to gain the trust of other organisations or possible supporters. But we found a lot of great support from bands and artists, which then helped us to organize the first concert. With that we also got great help in order to find even more support, also from other organisations. We think, the beginning is the hardest, but once you get started, people react mostly positive and appreciate the work and would like to help in some way.

Suiciderock: How do the venues / clubs react when you ask them for a collaboration?
RACPSuomi: We contacted so far only venues for the first concert we had. There the reaction was quite positive and we got some discount from the price, because it was a charity concert. We hope that we will find more venues and clubs in whole Finland, which are willing to give us their place, so we can rock against child pornography and abuse also in other cities and towns in Finland.

Suiciderock: Who gets the donations?
RACPSuomi: First of all the money is used to pay all the expenses we had and will have. We aim to get sponsores to fund our expenses and also by aksing people, shops and other organisations to help us for free with concert related stuff ( like poster printing etc.).However we still have to equal out our expenses. If there is money left, it will be donated to organisations, working against child pornography and abuse and/or helping the victims of it, such as Pelastakaa Lapset ry or Suomen Delfins ry, as we never profit from this! Unfortunately we did not have any money for donation after the first concert, but we will also publish our incomes and outcomes and it can be hopefully read from our homepage within the next week.

Suiciderock: How do people react when they for example meet you at the shows? Are they getting in touch with you regarding the child pornography theme or are they just watching the gigs?
RACPSuomi: The show in Nosturi on 19.January 2008 was our very first one, so many came just to watch the show, but some spoke to us and told us that they really appreciate this project and the work we are doing. During the supportive concerts, where we go to, people also come up to us and talk with us about this cause, which we really like!

Suiciderock: There are some more teams besides the Finnish one. For example from Germany, England and recently also a Turkish team joined the organisation. What do I need to open an own team or how can people support the existing teams best?
RACPSuomi: Yes, indeed there are quite many teams already: Germany, England, Turkey, Belgium, Canada, United States, Finland and recently joined Croatia. If somebody else wants to create a new team, he or she should contact one of the other teams first. He or she will get all the help and support from us, which is needed in order to create another team somewhere in the world. We have guidelines and regulations, which all of us agree on, so we can all work together and this is important for the new teams to know. A new addition is alse a Global Team, which is helping and supporting every team. The guidelines and information to start a new team can be found from them.
Support is needed in many ways! One can support the existing teams best, while simply spreading the word and letting others know that this important work exists. Besides we wish that our concerts will be filled with people, rocking against child pornography and abuse! Also active support, such as spreading flyers or posters before a concert; or even financial support in order to fulfill these concerts, is very welcome.

Suiciderock: On your MySpace profile you have this song called " He..s touched her" by Mute8. Was this song composed exclusivly for the page?
RACPSuomi: No, but Mute8 is a very active band, helping us from the very early beginning. They even played on our first concert and Sanna Jalomäki (singer) even helped organising this concert and joined our organisation as well. The band contacted us in September or October last year and told us that they have this song, “He’s Touched Her”, which is really important for them and they always play it last at their gigs. So they asked us, if they can help us and we surely welcomed them.
The songs on our page are constantly changing, depending on the artists giving us their songs to be played on our page.

Suiciderock: You sell shirts during the gigs. Where can people get merchandise stuff besides buying it on the shows?
RACPSuomi: There will also be a link coming on our homepage, where people can order our shirts. We hope this will also come within the next week.

Suiciderock: What does the future hold for "Rokkaa Lasten Hyväksikäyttöä Vastaan"? Are there any more concerts to come?
RACPSuomi: Yes, of course, there will be many more concerts coming! This is our big goal, to organise concerts, until there is no need to rock against child pornography and abuse anymore!
We’re now busy planning the next ones and we hope we can have a smaller one already this autumn, but there is nothing fixed yet. News will be announced on our homepage and myspace-page as well!
Thank you very much for the interview!

Find RACPSuomi on MySpace & there you can find more of those teams