NYE attacks

Cologne mayor faces criticism for suggesting women keep men at arm’s length

Women shout slogans and hold up a placard that reads "Against Sexism - Against Racism" as they march through the main railways station of Cologne, Germany, January 5, 2016.(REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)

Up to 300 people have protested in the German city of Cologne over the wave of sexual assaults that allegedly took place in the city over New Years Eve, while the mayor, Henriette Reker, drew criticism after suggesting women avoid sexual abuse by “keeping a certain distance of more than an arm’s length.”

About 90 women initially made complaints to the police in Cologne over New Years, many reporting being surrounded by groups of drunk and aggressive men of North African of Arabic appearance who sexually harassed and mugged them. At least one woman is believed to have been raped. So far, however, police have made no arrests, and police did not even report the new year’s incidents to media until earlier this week.

Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker addresses a news conference in Cologne, Germany, January 5, 2016. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)

Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker addresses a news conference in Cologne, Germany, January 5, 2016. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)

Making her first public comments about the incidents on New Year’s Eve, Reker said that people should not assume that migrants and refugees, one million of which have entered the country the past year, were responsible. But when asked how women could protect themselves, Reker’s suggestion to keep men at an arm’s length was little better than telling women to dress more conservatively.

Read the full story at The Guardian and the BBC.

Related:

More than 80 women sexually assaulted, mugged in train station on NYE

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