German women use social media to mock the Cologne Mayor's advice on preventing sexual assault

German women using the hashtag #eineArmlänge to argue that it is the responsibility of attackers, not victims to change their behaviour

Siobhan Fenton
Wednesday 06 January 2016 17:55
NYE celebrations in Cologne

German women have taken to Twitter to mock the Mayor of Cologne’s advice that they can prevent sexual assault by keeping “an arm’s length” away from all men.

Mayor Henriette Reker issued the controversial advice after a mob of 1,000 men reportedly sexually assaulted more than 100 women in the city on New Year’s Eve. At least one woman claims she was raped.

Germany has been horrified by the nature and scale of the attacks, including Chancellor Angela Merkel who called them “disgusting” and said she was “outraged”.

Mayor Reker, who nearly died in October when she was stabbed in the neck by a man, enraged locals after telling women they should alter their behaviour to prevent such incidents.

Her proposed ‘code of conduct’ for women which suggests that they stand at least "one arm's length" away from men and travel in groups, has been roundly mocked. Critics have accused her of 'victim blaming' and argue that only attackers need to change their behaviour to prevent attacks from happening.

Germans have been taking to Twitter to mock the advice, using the hashtag #eineArmlänge meaning ‘one arm’s length’.

Svenja Gräfen wrote dryly: “The most annoying thing is that we didn’t know this #onearmslength trick before now. Just think of what women could have prevented!”

Anne Roth wrote: “Suggestion: Men should be the ones to keep themselves #onearmslength distance from women. Unless the women specifically request something else.”

Others posted:

Whilst one woman had this succinct response:

Mayor Reker has yet to respond to the criticism.

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