We've taken to the streets in our millions to protest sexual violence–what more do you want?by Jessica Abrahams / January 7, 2016 / Leave a comment
On New Year’s Eve, at least 80 women in the German city of Cologne were harassed, robbed and assaulted by a group of up to 1,000 men, who are said to have been of Arab or North African appearance, in what may have been coordinated attacks. Two women have reported being raped. Others have been left with injuries and scars. It must have been terrifying, and will have a permanent impact on some of the victims.
The incident has received widespread media attention. Yet some on social media and blogging sites have accused feminists of ignoring or downplaying the event for fear of inflaming racial tensions, amid wider allegations of an attempted “cover up”.
UK “feminists” deploring the aggressive, misogynistic, migrant mass sexual assault on young German women in Cologne pic.twitter.com/qtPkGjnx9U
— A Libertarian Rebel (@A_Liberty_Rebel) January 5, 2016
Western feminists spend years bellyaching about ‘rape culture’ but when that culture actually turns up they’re nowhere to be seen. #Cologne
— The Blue Baron (@Ryan__Blake) January 6, 2016
To begin with, that’s not exactly an unfounded fear. Tensions are already high in Germany after the arrival of record numbers of refugees in 2015–more than a million, which is about five times as many as arrived the year before. While there were wonderful stories of Germans welcoming refugees into their cities and even their homes, there were darker stories too, including anti-immigration rallies that attracted tens of thousands of attendees, and violent attacks on refugees and their supporters.
The Cologne attacks have unsurprisingly been set upon enthusiastically by those who wish to turn emotions against the new arrivals and have portrayed the incident as the result of an influx of immigrants who engage in crime and have little respect for women. Feminists are necessarily concerned with the protection of minorities and marginalised groups. If some of them are finding it difficult to speak up about the event because of concerns it might be used to…