Residents of a small German town have been left outraged after its mayor suggested young girls “provoke” sexual harassment.
Jens Müller, Mayor of Bad Schlema, Saxony, made the comments at a council meeting last week, after a grandfather raised concerns young girls were being subject to harassment as they walked home from school, German newspaper FreiePresse reports.
The man, who has not been identified, claimed his granddaughter, who he said was in grade 10 at school (meaning she would be 15 or 16), had been a victim of such behaviour.
He said: “The girls have been harassed by the refugee children" as they walked to their physical education classes at school.
He raised further fears the harassment may increase when the girls wear less clothing in the summer months.
In response to the comments Mr Müller said: “That’s easy, just don’t provoke them and don’t walk in these areas.”
“It’s technically not necessary for the girls to walk there,” he added. “There are alternative routes for going to school.”
The comments sparked outrage among residents who accused the mayor of focusing on the victims rather than the perpetrators.
Around 100 residents attended the meeting, according to FreiePresse, who reportedly attacked the mayor with boos and heckles following his remarks.
The atmosphere was allegedly so heated, Mr Müller threatened to call the police and told local media the response from the meeting was “scary".
One resident called on the mayor to resign after the comments saying, “What kind of mayor is this? He should step down”.
Another member of the meeting said, “Let’s all keep a metre distance – so easy,” referring to comments made by the Mayor of Cologne, who said women should maintain an arm’s length distance from strangers following the sexual attack of women by 1000 men in Cologne on New Year’s eve.
Cologne mayor, Henriette Reker, angered German citizens last month after suggesting women and girls should employ a “code of conduct” after the attacks.
The proposed code, which includes suggestions such as sticking within your own group and asking bystanders for help if you become the victim of an assault, was criticised for directing too much attention on the victims' behaviour rather than the people who performed the attack.Reuse content