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Attacks on Women in Cologne, Germany and Refugee Worries

Rise in attacks on women at night in Germany

Unfortunately, some women in Germany received more from the New Year’s celebrations this year than anticipated. During the nightly festivities in the western city of Cologne, dozens of women were sexually assaulted and robbed. The horrific incidents have led critics to attribute the cause to the many migrants in this particular city.

While I denounce the actions of the culprits of the street attacks, I do not participate in labelling those offenders as all being refugees. While Germany did take in approximately one million people seeking asylum last year, it is not fair to say they are responsible for these crimes without having any proof to stand behind it.

When critics of the large number of migrants then learned of the assaults and robberies on women at night, I think they jumped on an argument that would fuel the fears of people across Germany. However, as I write this post on the evening of January 5, there are no details to confirm that the attackers were (or were not) refugees and no arrests have been made thus far.

There are reports that the attackers looked to be of a North African origin. As far as I am concerned, looking as though you come from North Africa does not automatically mean you are a refugee! Consider this too: a rise in migrants can be unrelated to a rise in attacks on women in the same country.

Regardless of who committed the vicious acts, though, it is clear to me that the perpetrators have no respect for people living in harmony together or personal boundaries, and they have no sense of humanity. Also, even if it turns out that the perps were migrants, it does not make any difference to the criminal sentence they will receive for the heinous acts. Everyone is equal before the law. A punishment for committing a crime does not consider a person’s background or ethnicity.

What are your thoughts on the refugee fears and the rise of street crime on women in Germany?

42 thoughts on “Attacks on Women in Cologne, Germany and Refugee Worries”

  1. Hello Christy, Great reading a post from you, it’s been a while. I just want to tell whomever commited these offenses must be punished to the maximum extent. No matter where in the world an attack on women occurs it is appalling. It makes my skin crawl! Violence inflicted upon women needs to end and should not be tolerated.

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Lydia, thank you for being here and contributing to the discussion. I’ve missed the wonderful people in the blog world, which includes lovely you xx I am saddened by the attacks and glad to know you join me in wanting to stop violence against women. It is something I will continue to be an activist for!

  2. I was dismayed when I read about the attacks. I’ve visited Koln more than once, the last time in 2014, and always felt it to be a safe city where the citizens were, if anything, a little over zealous about abiding by the law. Whoever these attackers were I hope they catch them. I also wonder why, in such a crowded place, no one stepped in to stop it happening?

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Good point about them escaping… Perhaps they had the attacks all planned out in places where few people frequented. Thanks Marie. It is good to see you, by the way!

  3. Anyone with any sense would realise that plonking thousands of 20+yo men from a semi-restrictive culture into a very lax culture is going to cause trouble. Financial & Charitable support should have been given to the countries surrounding Syria to take these refugees of the same culture when trouble started.
    Europe is now being drawn into the Middle East quagmire, which is an Arab problem, which has completely different ways of thinking than the West.
    The only country that the West should support is Israel, a truly democratic country in the midst of this islamic craziness.

    1. Christy Birmingham

      It is a trying time on many levels around the world, isn’t it, Ralph? Thanks for taking time to express your views here. Charitable support is needed here, there, and everywhere, sadly, it seems…

  4. This is a very thoughtful post and I appreciate your insight. In the U.S., there’s been an increase in hate and fear. It’s very disturbing. I wish people would take a step back and think logically instead of jumping on the latest fear-mongering bandwagon. And I agree with what other comments said about Donald Trump. He is making the matter so much worse.

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Tricia, firstly thank you for making time here. I know how precious time is! I do wish that fear and hate would dissipate in the U.S. rather than growing with such strength in numbers… It is a bandwagon as you say. Often the most difficult choices are the best ones and I hope people decide to get off the wagon to walk with their own two feet. And soon.

  5. I watched some of today’s demonstration from Cologne, against what happened on New Year in Cologne, this morning from my TV here in Toronto.
    At first the loud, angry & semi-violent protesters (300 – 500) were all anti-refugee. One sign said “RAPUGEES”
    Disturbing as it was, I was glad to learn that there was another 1,000 + protesting, but the cameras were not covering them. This group was also protesting the vile New Year event, but they were peaceful, pro-refugee & again I state that the cameras never showed them.
    I was saddened to hear that the German Police reported that of the 30 + arrested so far, approx.1/2 are refugees. Whatever they are, all will face the law.
    That story was followed by the story of 2 men (Muslim immigrants to America) arrested for aiding Daesh. Now, 1 of the men’s family has been arrested.
    That was followed by a report of a Muslim woman, in hijab, being removed from a Trump rally to a raucous hate energy from the crowd.
    I swear the news media is culpable to the fanning of the flames of hate.
    I can’t help but think that if the flames of love, peace and tolerance were fanned, AT LEAST SOMETIMES, that the world could inch along a more positive road.
    I guess the latter just doesn’t sell air time.
    Perhaps the companies buying the air time should have a decent look at what they are buying & selling?
    So much to say, but I stop now!

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Resa, thank you for the thoughtful and informative comment. You are so right that the media is only adding fuel to the fire (you mentioned flames and this image came immediately to my mind…). I am saddened that many people take news coverage on TV or articles in newspapers as the truth always when indeed it may have a subjective slant due to advertising pressures or other staff agendas. Your comment provides a good reminder that we cannot rely entirely on TV coverage for the facts. Also, your point about finding peace is such a good one and I really wish we were closer to doing so! I appreciate your comments, insights, and beauty from within xx

  6. As always, superb. Hate and fear, always go hand in hand don’t they? Whether the attackers are refugees or not, this does not define an entire group of people but only those who actually acted to bring about the horrifying events and cause such great harm to innocents. It seems humans are incapable of drawing these lines.

    We, all of us, must continue to try to do so if we are ever to find peace.

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Thank you Val, especially for the final words in your comment about finding peace. Somehow we have to remind people that it is possible… and to put the ‘human’ back into humanity… Hugs

    1. Christy Birmingham

      I hope the women are able to get help too for their trauma. I wonder if that is happening over there or if the women want to even talk about what happened. Thanks, M xx

  7. I have respect for anyone who speaks on social issues so bravo! I’m not concerned about any particular group coming into a country, such as immigrants or refugees. However, the environment we have set up here in the U.S concerns me. It is one of tolerant ignorance to the point of treating immigrants and refugees better than our own citizens. Therefore, if there ever was an increase in violence related to refugees, etc. then I feel less safe in a society that will not call it what it is for fear of being politically incorrect. We have to ask ourselves at what point would it be a problem we are not willing to tolerate? At this point that’s not even close to being established.

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Thank you Laura for adding depth to the conversation with your words. I think the whole PC or politically correct standpoint has become problematic in general. While it was originally a positive notion, meant to encourage sensitivity, now people are afraid to act or say the wrong thing, even when not intentional… I understand what you are saying about tension you notice in the U.S. Sadly the electoral race, with Donald Trump picking up the ‘rear’ (excuse the pun) with his words about Muslim people, is not helping matters.

  8. I second your statements and would like to point out that, no matter if true or not, highlighting the refugee condition of the perpetrators would add more hate to an already delicate situation in Europe….
    Those who act against the law are usually certain individuals and not collective groups…Furthermore, Europe is quite restrictive when it comes to inmigration, so reaching such conclusions would lead to restrictive politics as well, despite human rights being involved…
    The situation in Syria is awful…. And millions of civil citizens are victims.
    Germany’s PM has offered some of them a place to live, as your new PM did in Canada…
    Still, Germany needs to give an example, considering what Hitler did during the second world war… It would be a sort of national redemption which guilt roots are in the past… (Hannah Arendt wrote about this issue involving all the guilty feelings which popped up as a national aftermath of Nazism)…
    I am also thinking of Donald Trump’s assesments against muslims as a whole group… I just think that we just need avoid these generalizations as they lead to segregation, racism and xenophobia… And that no behalf of Humanity and Human Rights…
    Thanks, Christy for this post…. Very enlightening. All the best to you. Aquileana 🌟💫

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Such an intelligent comment, and thank you for contributing to the conversation here, AP! Your connection between Donald Trump’s statement about muslims and the words about refugees in Germany is an astute one. I hadn’t made the link until you said it. Yes! It’s as though people want to characterize groups to somehow bring about support through fear… It’s never going to lead to a positive situation using that sort of tactic. On a different note, thanks for your support here and with all of my writing projects. I value your friendship dearly, Aqui.

  9. Excellent post, Christy! I agree with you that the actual identities of the perpetrators should be exacted before blindly assuming a certain group is automatically guilty, because it is not as if these heinous crimes did not exist (in any country) prior to the refugee influx. Sadly, incidents like these could possibly become a means of escape for many while authoritative arguments continue due to the issue of ‘profiling’. My heart goes out to the women who endured this atrocity, and the culprits should be duly punished regardless of who they are, or where they are from. Crime occurs in all places and by all types of people, but it is always for no good reason. I wish we all understood. On a brighter note, I’m so glad to be reading your posts here again. Keep up the stellar work, my friend! <3

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Thank you for adding to the post with your informative comment here, Charlene. I think your opinion about ‘profiling’ is true. And the women aren’t caring about the ethnicity of the perpetrators; they want the people caught and for the streets to be safe again. I do hope the people find rest soon. Is peace within sight? I don’t know. HUGS

  10. First of all, nice to see you back, Christy, crusading on a social issue here. Where have you been? As to the point at issue, the law enforcement must swiftly swing into action to mete out exemplary punishment to the culprits, be it nationals or refugees. I, for one, strongly believe the huge influx of refugees into Germany will soon convert into a demographic dividend for the country to reinforce Germany’s preeminent position as an economic powerhouse. The countries resisting inflow of migrants will only stand to lose, stuck on the groove of stagnating economies with ageing population and lack of enterprise. With greetings and wishes of the season…

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Hi Raj, I’ve been on an extended break, working hard at business, and now returning to blogging. Thanks for welcoming me back! Your reflections on the incidents in Germany are well written and there certainly is much at risk with the way things are now… I send you all the best for the New Year!

  11. I think you’re right, Christy. It’s awful no matter who committed the assaults. And the finger-pointing adds to the inhospitable culture for the refugees. Find the criminals, law enforcement!

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Finger-pointing never helps, does it? We find that out on the playground as kids, or maybe some people don’t learn then… Thanks Mark!

    2. Very well written post.

      Finger-pointing never helps not at all, only make things worse – so I agree in find the criminals – law enforcement, so there is no doubt at all about rules of behavior – anonymity in groups mustn’t be accepted regardless of which targets there may be for these crowds.


    3. So much truth to your words here. Embracing anonymity only adds to the potential for peoples’ actions to grow out of control. Thank you for the insightful words you add here!

    1. Christy Birmingham

      I heard an update that arrests have now been made. I do hope that the fear subsides and that the people are safe to walk the streets again. Thank you for taking time here.

  12. Thank you for your thoughtful post, Christy. My heart goes out to the women who were assaulted. May they receive the care and counseling they need to heal. My heart also goes out to all the innocent refugees who are experiencing hostility (or worse) in response to these horrible events. Instead of lashing out at refugees, the focus should be on finding and imprisoning the individuals who committed the crimes, and also on preventing future attacks.

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