Recent Sexual Violence Cases In Germany Reveal How Misogyny Dictates Our Response To Rape

Posted on January 20, 2016 in Gender-Based Violence, GlobeScope, Taboos

By Jason Jayology and Leyla Qalbi Hussein:

What happened on New Year’s Eve in Cologne Germany was a human rights scandal. To date, 497 women have filed complaints, 381 are sexual offenses some filing in tandem. Today there has been three arrests – one 26-year-old man for sexual violence and theft, and two more men for theft arrests. According to journalists a fourth suspect (a Muslim) also being pursued, has fled atrocities mostly created through no fault of his own, and is a refugee. Just ask famous public anti-intellectual Bill Maher who in response to the attacks on his U.S. featured cable television self-righteous fill in the blank television program declared Muslims as a “Misogynistic culture.” He’s not alone. Charlie Hebdo was so animate about the night of sexual violence targeting women, that they responded in the most virile misogynistic way possible.

Illustration by Charlie Hebdo. Translation: “What would have happened to little Aylan if he grew up?” The answer, “A groper of women in Germany.”
Illustration by Charlie Hebdo. Translation: “What would have happened to little Aylan if he grew up?” The answer, “A groper of women in Germany.”

If you want to understand the rapes in Germany, look no further than the Charlie Hebdo publication perverting the meaning of a dead child’s life into xenophobic hate. Look at the so-called representation of brown people-monkeys. Look at what we aren’t discussing. You want to understand rape culture, listen to Bill Maher. Maher and Hebdo exemplify rape culture. See, when men rape, the response by men, is to see how they can discuss anything and everything but…rape. You’ve heard it before ministers saying “Boys will be boys.” If she is Dalit…It didn’t happen. If she is black, what rape. If it happened in university, “What was she drinking” or “Why was she out so late?” If it was in Cologne it must be the “Muslims.” How do they assimilate with all their misogyny? Perhaps the U.S. might be a good example, it’s a nation of immigrants who stole land from indigenous people, manifest genocide and must not have ever assimilated because for all their European Judeo-Christian values. There are over 300,000 rapes and sexual assaults annually according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network). I digress – which is what happens when you talk about rape, but don’t actually talk about rape because the only time you talk about rape is when it serves some ‘other’-ing agenda. What though would happen if we actually looked at Germany’s rape laws? How Germany prosecutes rapist? What if, I don’t know, look at Germany’s version of say, rape culture?

Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) take part in in demonstration rally, in reaction to mass assaults on women on New Year's Eve, in Cologne, Germany, January 9, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay - RTX21MZW
Source: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Unless, the facts marginalized are from a different Germany. I want to make sure that the Germany that is proposing deporting refugees in relation to unsubstantiated claims that the totality of violence against women on New Year’s was committed by refugees is the same Germany whose rape laws stipulate that “no” doesn’t exactly mean “no” when applied to unwanted sexual advances? Maybe that’s a different Germany? The Western press aptitude for geography as proven by the invasion of Iraq isn’t too strong, perhaps they mean Austria, or Holland when they say Germany? This can’t be the Germany whose rape laws stipulate and necessitate a burden of proof on the survivor to make evident that there was physical violence during the rape, opposed to the type of rape that isn’t brutally invasive beyond the prefacing lack of consent. I know that sounds sensational until you visit the 2012 case of a 15-year-old girl whose rapist was freed by an Essen court because the rape wasn’t violent enough. This decision in Essen probably helps one comprehend the overlooked reality that Germany’s Criminal Section 177 that defines rape is so narrow it barely fits the guidelines of the definition of rape stipulated by the EU’s Istanbul Convention. Still, Germany’s progressive laws regarding rape were updated way, way, back in 1997 when martial rape was finally outlawed.


Now factor in if we are talking about the same Germany in which rape can be governed by deportation, it is going to be lightening its homegrown population as understood by the continuous and steady increase in reported rapes by 6.5 percent annually since 2011. I do believe 2011 predates any mass migrations to Germany of peoples from Middle Eastern, South Asian or African regions.

I want make sure we’re talking about the Germany in which last year a Muslim Turkish girl heard a woman screaming for help from a restroom in a busy restaurant while patrons ignored the pleas. I want to make sure it’s the Germany in which the same woman entered the restroom to find two men raping a woman while patrons sat by and did nothing. I want to make sure it’s the same Germany in which after the young woman was cared for by the Turkish Muslim young woman. We’re talking about the same Germany in which that Turkish Muslim young woman walked out of that restaurant to find the same rapists in the parking lot carrying bats, where they beat her to death, spelling out tragedy of a life deferred on the concrete in a river of blood.

What better way to deal with rapists than to deport them? Then the rapists can go rape somewhere else. Problem solved. Where should they be sent? Perhaps the United States where when a celebrity rapes a 13-year-old girl, like Roman Polanski he galvanizes the Hollywood elites advocacy? Where celebrities get a pass like Woody Allen, when his daughter accuses him of molestation, years after he marries the adopted daughter he so famously sat on his lap during public events? Still there is less outcry in support for Cosby, which means that the media and Hollywood are racist, and that reality — which true, exonerates the reality of Cosby raping women… Because that is what activists do, they rape women. Unless you consider Malcolm X who left the Nation of Islam when he found out Elijah Muhammad was raping young sectaries despite giving his life in service to the man. I digress, he was murdered and remains a villain marginalized from history who happens to be a Muslim, who stood up and spoke out for human rights, black nationalism, pan-Africanism, and against rape, while having never committed a single act of violence, causing a massive rift with the people who worked with the CIA to end his life.

What were we talking about? Refugees? Deportations? Celebrities? Oh, right, rape. Yes, when men command modes of public trust, they have an amazing capacity to deflect the public attention away from reflecting on who controls the medium and what the message is don’ t they? So, the white supremacist media, that only talks about rape when in context of its agenda is run by who? Right, men. The argument becomes about what? Everything but the central points that no matter where a woman goes the number one threat to her humanity are men. Just as an anecdote, who are the Syrians fleeing…Is it a man? Who created the conflict from its colonial roots through the present day crisis…Men. Who despite there being a UN resolution 1325 stipulating that more women need to be present and active during peace discussions still aren’t present at the peace discussions-women. Who runs that that misogynistic and racist enterprise we call Hollywood? That would also be men. Why do women like Angelia Merkel deflect to dismantling the inadvisability and inalienability of human rights to score centrist points? “Misogyny knows no gender..” What’s at the root, of the root, of all of this? I think it is time we start to address misogyny in all its forms and how it has diseased every institution on earth. It’s time get serious about addressing ourselves as men, about understanding misogyny, about dismantling our so-called “free and fair” press, and the Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood, and every any institution commercially funded or linked to hyper-masculine misogyny. It’s time reductive counter-revolutionary thinking becomes revolutionary proactive thinking in action. How many babies need to wash up on shores, women need to get raped, girls need to disappear, migrant workers and domestic workers need to be murdered, and ecosystem destroyed before we decide to pull the root of the root up?

About the author: Leyla Hussein writes for Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan magazine and The Guardian. She is a Psychotherapist and a multi-award winning campaigner on FGM and gender rights including Cosmopolitan Ultimate Campaigner Women of the Year Award 2010, in 2011 she won the Emma Humphrey Award, The Lin Groves Special Award for her work in raising awareness of violence against women and children, she received 2012 True Honour Award “by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Right organisation for recognising her work on preventing honour-based violence, protecting victims/survivors and bringing perpetrators to justice. She received World peace and Prosperity Foundation award 2013.
She was included in the BBC 100 women list of 2013, recently voted 6th in the Woman’s Hour 2014 Power List, Currently named RedLine magazine women of the year 2014 and Debbets 500 list of most influential in the UK. She co-founded Daughters Of Eve who are working to protect girls and young women at risk from FGM. She advises the UK-wide Tackling FGM Initiative, Desert flower foundation, and Honor Dairies organisation and sits on Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Of Constabulary advisory group on Honour Base Violence.