Elise Ottesen-Jensen, called Ottar, was born in 1886 in then Swedish Norway. She was the seventeenth of eighteen children in between a priest and a bishop's daughter. Her relations with her family became very strained when she refused Christianity and God in her early teenage years and, unlike many of her siblings, looked for a career outside of the church. Instead, she became a dentist's assistant, although an accident costing her two of her fingers ended that career quickly. Instead, she became a stenographer and wrote articles for various syndicalist and socialist papers until she met Albert Jensen, her future husband. They eventually married and moved to Copenhagen and later Stockholm. She started a Women's newspaper and acted as a sort of sexual educator and agitator of women's rights, recognising the many struggles of the Scandinavian working class woman, with poverty, responsibility for the children, running double jobs and abusive marriages. Eventually she started touring the country, holding gatherings and sex ed evening classes all around the country. In these she turned out to be a skilled agitator.