The Mayor of Cologne, Germany, has said that women must adopt a “code of conduct” if they do not wish to be raped in a crisis meeting following the sexual assault of women by 1,000 men on New Year’s eve.
Mayor Herniette Reker’s shocking remarks were made during a meeting with Chief of Police Wolfgang Albers and Wolfgang Wurm. During the meeting they discussed how Germany should deal with the attacks, in which dozens of women were repeatedly groped and one alleged case of rape occurred in the town center.
“It is important to prevent such incidents from ever happening again,” said Mayor Reker, as reported in German by RP Online. “We have heard by now that they [the attacks] have occurred in other cities. This of course is not comforting to us.”
Hamburg also received complaints of sexual assault.
The crisis management team said prevention measures should include a code of conduct for young women and girls, and Mayor Reker said the existing code of conduct will be updated online.
The suggested code of conduct includes maintaining an arm’s length distance from strangers, to stick within your own group, to ask bystanders for help or to intervene as a witness, or to inform the police if you are the victim of such an assault.
In anticipation of large carnivals in the city centre in February, Mayor Reker promised an increased police presence. She warned young women about potential dangers of drunken events.
People expressed frustration at the focus on the victims rather than the perpetrators.
— Lee Laborczfalvi (@laborcz) January 5, 2016
@Independent Reker’s (mayor of cologne) answer is to handout rules for women how to act in public
— n.sloan (@Cinderssssss) January 5, 2016
Cologne’s female mayor: women must “maintain arm’s length distance to strangers”. Everything about this depresses https://t.co/8qkrawHnmj
— Catherine Mayer (@catherine_mayer) January 5, 2016
Mayor Reker also said a “better explanation” to asylum seekers was needed about the meaning of the annual carnivals.
“We need to prevent confusion about what constitutes happy behaviour and what is utterly separate from openness, especially in sexual behaviour,” she said.
The attackers were described as North African and Arab appearance by the police. The Mayor has said that not all of the attackers were newly-arrived refugees and had already been known to the police, as reported by The Local.
Mayor Reker was seriously wounded herself in October when she was stabbed in the neck by a man who reportedly had anti-foreigner motives amid in escalating tensions about the refugee crisis.