After a gang of a thousand men went on a crime spree targeting dozens of women in the German city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve, Mayor Henriette Reker advised women to adopt a “code of conduct” to prevent future sexual assaults.
“There’s always the possibility of keeping a certain distance of more than an arm’s length,” Reker said in response to a reporter’s question. “That is to say to make sure yourself you don’t look to be too close to people who are not known to you, and to whom you don’t have a trusting relationship.”
Reker also said that women should “stick together in groups, don’t get split up, even if you’re in a party mood.”
Our deutschsprachig readers can listen to the exchange below, starting 16 minutes in.
Feminist critics jumped on the remarks, saying that Reker was engaging in victim-blaming.
^ Mayor of Cologne Henriette Reke issues ‘behaviour guidance’ to German women, and not to the male perpetrators?? https://t.co/DNjZ58owEo
— maajid nawaz (@MaajidNawaz) 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
Meanwhile, conservative critics claimed she was deflecting blame away from the gang of men, who witnesses described as universally of Arab and North African origin. Reker has been a proponent of increasing the number of refugees taken in by Germany, and was even the victim of an attempted assassination in October for her pro-immigrant views.
[Image via screengrab]
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