The Mayor of Cologne said today that women should adopt a “code of conduct” to prevent future assault at a crisis meeting following the sexual attack of women by 1000 men on New Year’s eve.
Mayor Henriette Reker attended an emergency meeting with Chief of Police Wolfgang Albers and Wolfgang Wurm to discuss how to deal with the attack, where dozens of women were repeatedly touched and groped, with one case of alleged rape in the center of town.
“It is important to prevent such incidents from ever happening again,” said Mayor Reker, as reported in German by RP Online. “We have heard by now that they [the attacks] have occurred in other cities. This of course is not comforting to us.”
Hamburg also received complaints of sexual assault.
The crisis management team said prevention measures should include a code of conduct for young women and girls, and Mayor Reker said the existing code of conduct will be updated online.
The suggested code of conduct includes maintaining an arm’s length distance from strangers, to stick within your own group, to ask bystanders for help or to intervene as a witness, or to inform the police if you are the victim of such an assault.
In anticipation of large carnivals in the city centre in February, Mayor Reker promised an increased police presence. She warned young women about potential dangers of drunken events.
People expressed frustration at the focus on the victims rather than the perpetrators.
Mayor Reker also said a “better explanation” to asylum seekers was needed about the meaning of the annual carnivals.
“We need to prevent confusion about what constitutes happy behaviour and what is utterly separate from openness, especially in sexual behaviour," she said.
The attackers were described as North African and Arab appearance by the police. The Mayor has said that not all of the attackers were newly-arrived refugees and had already been known to the police, as reported by The Local.
Mayor Reker was seriously wounded herself in October when she was stabbed in the neck by a man who reportedly had anti-foreigner motives amid in escalating tensions about the refugee crisis.