An original translation by Egri Nök
Southerners touched them indecently
Herder students were molested in trams and buses
Kassel. Pupils from the district of Kassel, visiting the Herder School in Kassel, tell of sexual assaults by southerners in trams and buses.
It took a long time, until the girls confided in her teacher Alexandra Schäfer: The three young women between the ages of 16 and 18 have been sexually harassed repeatedly in the past. On their way to school they were harassed, groped at the thigh, chest, and crotch, men made obscene gestures to them, or yelled “whore” in the faces.
The reason why the girls have been silent for so long – until they could not stand it -, is socio-politically serious: The men who regularly harass and grope them so massively, are likely to be refugees. “We do not want refugees to be discriminated against, we do not want people to make blanket accusations, and by no means we want to cause ill feelings,” says Anna (name changed by the editors). Her political correctness had paralyzed her.
The girls take the tram lines 4 and 8, but also bus lines 18 and 19. There, these men are especially often at the start of school and then again when schools close, as the girls have found.
“Once, seven men at a tram stop came to me and called “’woman, woman, woman”‘. It felt very threatening to me,”says Anna. Her friends nod.
The scenario is all too familiar to them. In the beginning she did not realize, says Anna.
She wondered: Has he just deliberately touched me between the legs, or accidentally? This had happened to her for the first time already on her first day at the Herder School last year. “I was not expecting this at all.”
There is hardly a day without harassment, the three young women tell Ute Ochs of the “Kassel Help”. She came to the school at the initiative of Alexandra Schäfer to discuss with the girls and to encourage them to press charges, even if against persons unknown. Ochs: “This harassment must not be tacitly endured, you have to make them public.”
The great audacity of some much older men is that they have even followed their victims several times even to their house, the young women explain. “It was only when my father came out of the house, that the man got lost,” said (name changed) Lisa. The parents had then informed the police. “If we let them know that we do not want this, they simply grin dirty,” says Lisa.
The girls avoid public transport, as far as this is possible. Meanwhile, they have broken their silence, shared with other Herder pupils, and realized: “Many others have experienced this harassment as well.”
This is what Steffi Burmester of the Working Group “Together active against sexual violence (Gesa)” says:
Have sexual assaults increased with the many male migrants?
Steffi Burmester: Yes, together with the refugees we have, unfortunately, also received a huge package of sexual violence by men.
Why is that?
Burmester: The perpetrators often come from cultures with a different image of women, they are lonesome, and possibly, after a time of flight, fear and humiliation, looking for confirmation of their masculinity. But this is neither excusable nor acceptable.
What needs to be done?
Burmester: We have to make attacks public, even with the danger of playing into right-wingers’ hands. Ultimately, the men have to be re-educated. In order for them to understand it, men from their own culture should do it, even in the mosques.