MARTINA K.: Recently I’ve been becoming ever more upset and enraged that we women are left in the lurch as victims. I don’t ride on my bicycle alone any more through the fruit farm to meet my husband and avoid public transport when it’s dark. I’ve had concerns about working alone in the garden of our local museum in the summer. I actually thought that my age would gradually start to protect me. But if you make the effort and read through newspapers and police reports from across Germany, for the year 2016 you find at least 6 rapes of pensioners and three attempted rapes, one of these ended in death. The victims were between 60 and 90. In the years before you would hear of this only in isolated cases, one or two cases per year, these disgusting crimes.
In addition, nearly two-thirds of Germans fear Islamization. A poll from last spring found 60 percent of Germans believe Islam does not belong in their country.Surveys are interesting enough, but sometimes an individual story can better illustrate profound social changes. Ulrike Trebesius, a German member of the European Parliament, described how her life has become more dangerous because of unwise immigration:
ULRIKE TREBESIUS: Katrin Göring-Eckardt [member of the Green Party] said sometime in 2015 that Germany will change and that she is looking forward to that. Now, Germany has changed, and the Greens may find this enjoyable, but the citizens’ feeling of safety is suffering under it. 58% of the women who were asked in a recent survey for Bild am Sonntag declared that they don’t feel safe anymore on Germany’s streets and cities, and that they have adjusted their behavior accordingly.Our chancellor said, ‘Fear is not a good counselor.’ This coming from the broad who, even when she goes swimming in the sea, she is accompanied by trained fighter-divers. But for all others who don’t have their own personal security service when they go out, reality looks somewhat different. I’ll describe my own example.Shortly before Christmas I had an appointment as a delegate in Hamburg city. In order to avoid parking issues during the Christmas excitement, I decided to take the subway. The subway station that I’ve been using for years was filthy and foul like I’ve never really seen it before. On my way to the train platform there were Arab-looking men who stood around in groups, asking me if I wanted to f***. When I arrived on the platform, I realized that as far as I could tell, I was the only European woman there.After the ‘friendly’ greetings by the stairs, this did not significantly help my feeling of safety. Later in the subway I noticed how many women sat and stood in a way that they were able to keep an eye on the doors and walkway in the train.Nothing in all of that is really actionable, but it shows how Germany has changed, at least for us women. We are on guard.After my appointment a colleague and I decided that we would go drink a mulled wine at the Christmas market by the town hall, to celebrate Christmas and the coming new year. The ambience was… different. For men as well. Germany HAS changed.One day after the terror attack in Berlin the Christmas market was surrounded with “Merkel Legos”: Big concrete blocks that were meant to prevent the someone with a vehicle from deliberately driving it into the crowds of people. ‘An arm’s length’, that was last year. Now we had better hold a truck’s length of clearance. Some of these concrete blocks were painted colorfully. Red, yellow, blue and green, because Hamburg wants to remain colorful. Whatever that means when one tries to navigate between blockades and police armed to the teeth in order to enjoy the end of one’s work day that this was as much an empty phrase as her ‘we can do it’.The chancellor and the federal government have no plan, because that would involve foresightful action. Instead they now talk about more video surveillance, and how to deal with ‘threateners’.The Cologne Dom [Cathedral] plaza became a maximum security zone. That will not give us women back the feeling of safety that we once had in our cities.Admittedly, even before the past two years, we rarely walked through the park by ourselves, but since then most women have started carrying pepper sprays; many get the small weapons certificate; they avoid some areas completely; when they’re jogging they wear special pants that give off a loud alarm when they are cut up.And maybe we generalize a little too much unjustly because of our fears when we avoid all people who match a certain picture of members of what is categorized as a “critical” group, for instance, in a case of a well-integrated person with migration background who has been living here for a long time.After Cologne the chancellor said that the offenders would feel the full strength of the rule of law, but that has shown itself to be incorrect. Rather in the most recent Silvester Night [New Year’s Eve] our experience was that the exact same groups of people decided to have a showdown with our rule of law.As long as we don’t crack down with full strength, the feeling of safety for us women will not get better.In retrospect, the discussions about gender-equal toilets and quotas for supervisory committees in our economy sound like the lingering sound from the good old days.