The mayor of Cologne, Germany has inflamed a debate about migrants and sexual harassment by suggesting that women can protect themselves from men on the streets by keeping them more than an arm's length away, the NY Times website reports today (January 6, 2016).
The remarks by Mayor Henriette Reker -- who, being a woman herself has shocked many with her view of accusing the women for their plight -- were made yesterday to reporters after Cologne police said they had received more than 90 complaints of robbery and sexual assault (including two accounts of rape), as groups of men targeted young women in and around the city's main train station on New Year's Eve.
Today, Mayor Reker was being widely ridiculed by commentators and across social media for putting the onus on the victims of the attacks.
"It is always possible to keep a certain distance that is longer than an arm's length," Ms. Reker told reporters yesterday, suggesting that the city authorities would provide guidelines for young women who find themselves surrounded by aggressive men trying to grope them. The police -- who have not made any arrests -- said the assaults had been carried out by several hundred young men, whom they described as having a "North African or Arabic" appearance.