Sunday 22 April 2018

Mayor of Cologne under fire for suggesting women should stay 'an arm's length from strangers' following mass assaults on New Year's Eve

Mayor has been accused of victim blaming after suggesting women adhere to a code of conduct to 'prevent confusion' in the future

Independent candidate Henriette Reker was stabbed while out campaigning (Oliver Berg/dpa via AP)
Independent candidate Henriette Reker was stabbed while out campaigning (Oliver Berg/dpa via AP)
Clare Cullen

Clare Cullen

The Mayor of Cologne is under fire for suggesting that women should adhere to a code of conduct in order to stop sexual assaults following the unprecedented number of assaults on New Year's Eve.

It has been reported that up to 1,000 men "of Arab or North African appearance" committed a string of sexual attacks in a celebrating crowd in Cologne on New Year's Eve. Dozens of women have reported being touched or groped and at least one has reported an alleged rape.

Read more: Germany shocked by Cologne New Year gang assaults on women

Speaking to RP Online, the Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, said that a code of conduct for women "to prevent such incidents from ever happening again" would soon be available online.

This code would include women "staying an arm's length away from strangers", sticking with a group and asking bystanders to intervene.

Read more: Mayor of Cologne urges code of conduct for young women to prevent future assaults

Anti-immigration politicians have linked the crimes to the million refugees that arrived in Germany during the past year despite warnings from police officials against linking the two.

The Mayor said in the interview that the code of conduct would help "prevent confusion about what constitutes happy behaviour and what is utterly separate" but many Twitter users have accused the Mayor of "victim blaming".

One user tweeted "How about instead, the German government adopts a code of conduct involving arrest(ing) the goddamn criminals" while another wrote "how about a code of conduct for people who sexually assault women?"

Henriette Reker was elected in October one day after being stabbed in the neck at a market.

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