Sexual Consent Classes Offered To Berlin Refugees Following High-Profile Rape Cases

Refugees living in Berlin are being offered sexual education classes following public outcry over recent high-profile cases involving rape and other sexual offenses, according to TheLocal.de.

Participation is voluntary for the four-hour course, "Together for Security," which Germany's integration commissioner Annette Widmann-Mauz called for following a gang rape case in Freiburg in which 10 of the 11 suspects are refugees. It is very similar to the "migrant sex courses" launched in Sweden last year. 

The tone in the room and on the screen quickly changes when the man takes the woman home, locks the door and, when she attempts to leave, he rapes her.

When the grim video ends, seven men in their thirties, refugees who have come to Berlin from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, are invited to react and comment.

"She has had too much to drink, they are sleeping together," says one, convinced the man in the video took advantage of the young woman's drunkenness to abuse her.

"He knew very well what he wanted," says another.

At this point, the workshop's moderator, Carola Pietrusky-Niane, jumps in to explain that "it happens frequently in Berlin, young people drink a lot, take drugs," and in certain cases, this type of aggressive crime can happen. -TheLocal.de

In another exercise, a video tablet shows immigrants how close they are alloweed to stand without invading someone's personal space

"You shouldn't get too close to the person you're talking to," said Pietrusky-Niane, adding "The same with children, they don't necessarily like to be touched (by strangers)." 

The session, organized by Norwegian hostel management company Hero, was attended by seven single men - some of whom are fathers. Questions included "How do you know whether a woman is willing?" and "How do you react if she isn't?"

Advice is given to refugees from countries where displays of affection are banned in public, boys and girls often attend separate schools and rape within marriage is not considered a crime.

One of the short videos during the workshop spells out the difference between consensual sex and rape.

"It's like asking a person if they want a cup of tea," says the voiceover in English.

"If she answers 'Yes, I love it', it's because she wants one.

"If she hesitates, you can make the tea and ask again," the video continues.

"And if someone says 'No, thank you', don't make the tea and don't get angry -- it's the same with sexuality," the video concludes. -TheLocal.de

Backlash

The combination of rape cases (including a 2016 rape-murder by an Afghan refugee) and mass assaults on New Year's Eve in 2015-2016 has stoked a massive backlash against Germany's more than one million refugees. In November of 2018 a 15-year-old girl was dragged into a public toilet in Königs Wusterhausen and raped by two Afghan migrants, resulting in a massive protest. 

In 2016, the daughter of a high-ranking EU official was raped and murdered in the German city of Freiburg by an Afghan migrant

Maria Ladenburger

In Germany, there was a 15-percent rise in sex crimes committed by foreigners in 2018, 6,046 offences compared to 5,258 in 2017, according to federal statistics.

prosecute perpetrators of sex-related crimes.

But they also underline the challenge of integrating large numbers of migrants, a big proportion of whom are young, single men from countries which would view Western norms as surprisingly liberal.

In Norway, migrants were compelled to undergo similar courses between 2013
and 2015, after several rape cases involving refugees. -TheLocal.de

"Differences in culture and customs exist," said University of Merseburg sexology professor Heinz-Jürgen Voss, adding that such training is "useful" and should be offered to refugees throughout Germany.