A German train operator announced that it will soon offer special “women and children only” cars on its regional service, and ensure that the cars were located strategically close to the ticketing and customer service counters at stations. The German Regionbahn line said that two trains, the Leipzig and Chemitz lines, would now have the segregated cars, joining a handful of other countries that have separate cars for men and women, including including India, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and Egypt.
Despite speculation, the company said in a statement that the idea for segregated cars had nothing to do with Germany’s recent spate of sexual assault and harassment claims among women in public places, particularly the New Year’s Eve attacks in the German city of Cologne. The attacks were allegedly coordinated and carried out by as many as 1,000 men, believed to be of North African and Arab descent, in the city’s central square on the holiday. Authorities kept news of the attacks quiet for days, leading eventually to public outrage and calls for Germany to close its borders to migrants. The mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker told the city’s women to “keep yourselves at a safe arms-length” from migrant men in the future.