Only once in my life have I been surrounded by a mob of men.
I had just celebrated my 30th birthday in Jerusalem with friends and was heading for the southern Israeli city of Beersheva. To get there, I had to head through the Old City, out of the Damascus Gate, then somehow find the Egged bus terminal for the two-hour trip. I had just embarked on this route on a Friday afternoon just when crowds of Muslim men began leaving the Temple Mount after prayer. I was dressed modestly in a long skirt and long sleeves, but my head was not covered.
The street went from empty to packed in a few minutes. So many men –- I could see no women -- were pressed against me, I could have picked up my feet and been carried along. Then I felt someone reach under my skirt and make his way up my leg. Terrified, I whirled around and ordered him in English to back off. All the men around me laughed. Knowing things could get out of control fast and that I’d be on the losing end, I pushed my way through the crowd until I got through the gate.
A few years later when I was back in town with a different tour, I insisted that at least one of the men in our group accompany me at all times in the Old City to cut back on the harassment. Which is why I have a lot of sympathy for the 1,000-plus German women who have reported that they were sexually assaulted in Cologne and other cities on New Year’s Eve. You cannot imagine what it's like when it’s you against a crowd.
Earlier this month, the news came out that 2,000 men were involved in the attacks. That’s a small army, folks. But when the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle described the incidents, a key detail was missing:
A Federal Criminal Police Agency (BKA) inquiry into the wide-spread New Year's Eve sexual assaults uncovered 900 cases of sexual crimes with over 1,200 victims, German media reported on Sunday.
The shocking assaults occurred not only in Cologne, but also in Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and other cities across Germany, reported German newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung," which compiled the information from a BKA draft along with public broadcasters NDR and WDR.
Officials who worked on the report estimated that around 2,000 men took part in the crimes, but only 120 of them have been identified. Many of the assaults were carried out in large groups, raising the estimated number of suspects and victims.
"We have to assume that many of these crimes will not be followed up on," BKA President Holger Münch told the reporters.
Now, here is a key issue, one linked to a key point that tmatt raised in a post the other day about the terror attack in Nice, France:
According to the BKA, most of the suspects came from North African countries.
While few Syrians are thought to have taken part in the assaults, the report noted that over half of the men who are allegedly responsible for the attacks have been in Germany less than one year.
"In this respect, there is a connection between the occurrence of the phenomenon and the strong levels of immigration in 2015," said Münch.
North African countries? Is that the best descriptor out there? What is the purpose of this code language? That could be anyone.
Just in case anyone forgets how truly horrifying New Year’s Eve was, here’s an article from the Daily Mail about a teenager who was raped that evening and who already had an abortion from the resulting pregnancy.
There are so many unanswered questions here and not a few religion “ghosts,” which are gaps in a story where religion plays a part, but is not mentioned. A Washington Post story tells why; the Germans don’t want to mention the nationality, much less the religion of the attackers so as not to inflame matters further.
But they are already inflamed. On July 11, the Pew Research Center released a survey showing how Europeans are, frankly, terrified of their new refugee neighbors.
The Pew team was not afraid to say the M-word. One graph shows that 50 percent or more of the people polled in southern and eastern Europe fear Muslims. In yet another graph, majorities in all 10 nationalities polled said that Muslims prefer to keep to themselves rather than adopt the culture and customs of their home country.
So, what are the Germans doing? Here’s a link to another Washington Post story that tells us:
BERLIN -- The German government is rushing to integrate hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, offering them language classes and the prospect of work. But in a country known for its matter-of-fact acceptance of public nudity and creative forms of lovemaking, it is also trying to teach the mostly-Muslim migrants about the joy of sex.
Operating under the premise that many Syrians, Iraqis and others seeking asylum here are naive about the predilections and pitfalls of the European boudoir, Germany’s Federal Center for Health Education has gone live with a sexual education website for adult migrants. Using highly graphic diagrams and images, the $136,000 site outlines everything from first-time sex to how to perform far more advanced sexual acts.
Let me get this straight: Here is a group that’s being fingered as harboring up to 2,000 men who attacked women all over Germany on New Year’s Eve and they’re being given graphic materials on how to be more creative in their sex lives?
Seems like the rape victims might say their attackers understood sex quite well. A Breitbart.com piece reports that the group overseeing the sex education has some pretty controversial aspects and that safeguarding German women is not their top priority.
What’s missing in the basic journalism here is some explanation of a culture that does believe that simply walking the streets without a male escort is an invitation for harassment, while a short skirt invites even worse behavior.
Why doesn’t someone ask what characteristic is there about these newly arrived men that makes them attack women? What are the roots of this issue? Is it just being from the Middle East? One commentator to the Breitbart piece noted that Arab, Tunisian and other Middle Eastern Christian men do not disrespect women and that it’s the Muslims who are at fault. That's an explosive claim, right there. The key: I’d like to see someone investigate that claim. Would journalists dare do that reporting?
And are there varieties of Muslims involved here? I’ve traveled about Iraqi Kurdistan and I never got the harassment of the sort I encountered that day in Jerusalem. (Although I did wear floor-length skirts and long sleeves in Kurdistan, even when the temps reached 111ºF.) If you label the attackers as “immigrant men,” there are other ethnic groups who’ve immigrated into Germany in recent decades (who now number 3 million people with a Turkish background) and I’m sure they resent being labeled along with the newcomers.
So, what’s the difference between older Muslim immigrants to Germany and the newer guys? Is anyone asking this? Is anyone interviewing Muslims themselves? Is the number of young Muslim men on the rise, compared with waves of immigration that centered on Muslim families?
The reporting on immigrants in Europe is all over the map and it's hard to trust any one source. For instance, theverge.com says there have been raids in Germany against anyone posting "hate speech" on Facebook and that said "speech" is not just anti-Semitic speech but anything deemed Islamophobic.
Sounds crazy? Well, the thought of 2,000 men attacking women around Germany sounded farfetched, and major news organizations ignored the rumors, until we learned it was true.