The farce of #Cologne

Abbildung: 2 Männer greifen nach einer Frau

Paul Townsend via Flickr, [CC BY-ND 2.0]

An unknown number of women were sexually assaulted and robbed on New Years Eve in Cologne. About 150 victims  [January 7 2015] are said to have reported offences to the police, some talk about rape. According to reports the perpetrators were of North African and Arab origin. People on the social networks are falling all over themselves since. There are those, who warn of racist allegations, others one more time sense the decline of the West. Politicians talk about “the hard hand of justice”. The victims don`t even exist in this turmoil.

New Years Eve, a night apart from the norm. Everyone is celebrating, all are staying up late, many kick over the traces. Because of a fear of terrorist attacks at the Cologne Main Train station Police and Federal Police are on-site. Large crowds are found on the plaza, some groups throw firecrackers and fireworks into the crowd. Women are touched, fingered, surrounded, threatened, robbed and even raped. Bystanders who try to help out get threatened, too. Concordant descriptions of the perpetrators say the were age 15-35, of North African and Arab descent. The Police did not notice anything. In their situation report they said New Years Eve has been peaceful. The first reports of attacks appeared on social media where victims and witnesses reported of what had happened to them or what they had seen. Some local daily newspapers picked up the topic. The mass media tended to ignore it, fearing to stir up racist resentments or to spread hoaxes. An uproar develops, there are accusations, allocations of blame, warnings. But the whole turmoul is a total farce, deriding the victims.

The former Minister of Family, Kristina Schröder, did not take long to post on Twitter about women-hating violence being inherent in Islam. Are the attacks of Cologne a clear result of immigration and the so called refugee crisis? It is easy to blame the fault on others, the non-natives. Why should muslim society be the reason for foreign men assaulting women over here? It is hypocritical and ridiculous to claim that we show migrant men how to treat women correctly. Quite the opposite: They come to a country, where they find pornofied advertising on every billboard and every TV screen. Women are offered openly as a product. The buying of sex has become mainstream long ago and rape is a crime exempt from punishment. Flatrate fucking and facial abuse are one of the individual and western liberties of the German man in a so called civilized society, and also the media advocates for these liberties by every trick in the book; nobody wants to recognize sexual violence, when the average german man ejaculates to a woman getting beaten up to unconsciousness in a porn movie. If anyone is still in doubt about the question if prostitution is sexual violence, he or she should look around a bit in the sexbuyer-forums. “onlyintheass” or “whore destroyer” are common user names. One should avoid reading the posts they write, the risk of triggers is enormous.

Germanys biggest tabloid BILD title “The sexmob in our cities”, Alice Schwarzer, from feminist magazine EMMA, talks about gangbangs on the train station fore court and calls the perpetrators terrorists. It may sound abstruse, but both are in fact right. But it is not the non-natives, the others, the refugees, who produce that climate, but our own, dishonest society, that accepts a rape culture, which reflects in song lyrics, in advertisements and countless movies and articles, and a society where rape victims are vilified and perpetrators get away with what they have done. The “sexmob in our cities” exists  – day in day out – in all big German cities – especially alongside the curb crawls, the brothels, the sauna-clubs and the walk-ups.

[The next section was corrected to a better version in english. Thanks I.R.!]

Foreign men, that come from muslim countries, are usually not used to the open display of sexual exploitation of women. Prostitution and porn exist in their countries, but are hidden and outlawed by society. And: There is a strict separation of the sexes. This separation is mostly to the detriment of women, whi have to veil themselves, stay in private areas and have to restrict themselves. Men in muslim countries have more liberties and also a different self-concept. It is open to dispute whether this is a result of religion or culture, but one thing is for sure: it’s not in their genes.  These men come to a country where everything is porn, and this “everything is porn” again also accounts of women exclusively. They are the objects on the billboards, the fresh meat in the brothels, the half-naked sprawling, female staffage – they are  advertised openly and flashy. Women in our culture are a commodity, ostentatious, dehumanized, humiliated. And now we act all surprised to see that men men coming from a different cultural context, don`t understand right away, that as a good German you can only molest and abuse women in dark alleys, on the tube, during carnival, in brothels, in the  privacy of  one’s own home or on TV, but not in groups or on public spaces? Come on. We shoud give integration some time. Then migrant perpetrators will surely learn how they can use women and their bodies without facing court. Millions of German men daily show them how to do it – totally legal and exempt from punishment.

The buying of sex is officially legal in Germany since 2002 and even assessed. Women in prostitution have no rights, no protection, there are not limits. The new recessed prostitution protection law would not have changed anything about that. Men can do whatever they want with women, as long as they pay ten bucks for it. Sex-trade organisations suggest to the prostituted they should avoid wearing scarves and earrings, so they won`t get harmed too easily. Women as a commodity are advertised visible for everyone, sex-buyers celebrate their brothel visits in videos.

Those who do not want to go to a brothel and pay for sex, can use other ways and be pretty sure that nothing ever happens to them, if they decide to enforce sexual violence on women. Rape is nearly excluded from legal punishment in Germany, only a very little amount of the victims ever press charges and from those offenders only the ridiculous amount of 8,4 percent ever gets convicted to even more ridiculous sentences. Before going to court the victims have to pass mortifying credibility expertises and if they had more than one sex partner, the defense attorney will happily call them sluts. That is legal in Germany and the reality of our legal system!

Those with the loudest voice on Twitter and other social media to punish the offenders, are those who usually make fun of feminists fighting against sexism and victims of sexual violence. It is them who are usually the first to assume that the victims of sexual violence are lying and use this lie for an act of revenge. The victims of cologne are abused by them for racist propaganda, they do not care about women, their safety or their rights. If the offenders of Cologne would have been German soccer fans, the victims would have been called hysteric feminazis and nobody would have even dared to believe them. We do not need the figur of the stranger, the immigrant to make women feel unsafe in Germany. In carnival in Cologne every year several assaults happen, but, on this occasion, the victims are told that it was their own doing, that they knew before, what carnival means, that they should have drunk less and worn longer skirts. How close those statements are to the Islamic tradition of women wearing a headscarf does not appear to those doing #victimblaiming this way.

Mayor of Cologne Reker (female) did sing from the same hymn sheet, when she started to give behavioral advice for women after the incidents and to summon them to keep “an arm’s length” distance from strangers. She herself was attacked by a right-wing offender with a knife only some weeks ago. Instead of taking care for the safety of women in public spaces, women are declared part-guilty for being sexual harassed. The men  are excused, as usually. Boys will be boys! Long before the cologne incidents happened, women in Germany knew that they are not safe at night, in public transportation and on public spaces. Every third women in Europe has suffered from sexual violence.

The real mocking of the victims is, that there is no legal hold for what happened to them. “The firm hand or rule “, which politicians want to exercise now, does not even have a legal base in Germany. Minister of Justice Maas should know this. According to the German law it is only rape, if a life was threatened or massive violence was used. A simple “No” or an “arm length distance” does not count in German courtrooms, for the offender could still interpret this as part of the flirting game. Since at least “Fifty Shades of Grey” a “No” means “Yes” and violence is suffered joyfully and voluntary. The element of crime called sexual harassment does not even exist in German law. The 150 victims of Cologne are left alone with the hope of a political signal, because Berlin fears for the social peace in Germany, legally they will never know justice at all, just like the hundred thousands of other rape victims in Germany every year.

The victims of Cologne don’t even appear in this debate for the bigger parts. Some abuse them for xenophobic propaganda, others fear racism so much, that they would prefer the victims to be silent. Both attitudes are acts of cowardness, both are wrong. The right thing to do is to recognize sexual violence as part of our own society. If we want to prevent immigrants from practising it, then we first need to make sure that we sanction it in the right way. We need to listen to victims, respect and protect them. The offenders are those who need to feel ashamed and outlawed. In this whole debate victims are being neglected, all these traumatized women, who are left alone, are declared guilty for what happened to them or are abused for political purposes. It is them we should listen to and show our deep solidarity with. All of them.

3 Kommentare

  1. Ingeborg

    So etwas gab es auch schon vor 100 Jahren.
    Mir ist es vor 50 Jahren passiert und vor 20 Jahren passierte es an meiner Schule und keiner hat es ernst genommen.. jetzt gerät es außer Kontrolle und alle setzen sich die Wundermütze auf.
    Frauen, die angefasst werden wollen gehen zu solchen Partys.
    Also.. Was willst du?

  2. As a woman and a feminist I am horrified to see such denial of reality as in Germany. So one can only talk about the ethnicity and religion of the attackers if one lays the whole blame on German society ??!
    I understand that you are severely traumatized by Nazism, but how come you recognize the role of culture in such attacks and could still insist they are not related with the culture of those criminals??!
    Congratulations , political correctness is saved, and women in parts of the world that are much more afflicted can rest assured … it’all the same everywhere…
    Combined Scale of the Prevalence and Sanction of Rape and Sexual Assault of Women

  3. thank you Mira !
    sexism = structural and institutional misogyny
    lesbophobia = homophobia + misogyny
    misogynoir = racism + misogyny
    “Male violence is the greatest humanitarian crisis” (UN)

    also, none of these sexualized assaults are “punishable” under present german laws :

    contrary to this i do believe german criminal law/-s must urgently be amended/updated concerning sexualized assault – Istanbul Convention

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