A young left-wing German politician has admitted she lied to police about the racial background of three men who raped her in case it triggered reprisals against refugees in her country.
Selin Gören, the national spokeswoman of the left-wing youth movement Solid, was attacked by three men in January in the city of Mannheim where she works as a refugee activist.
The 24-year-old was ambushed late at night in a playground where she said she was forced to perform a sex act on her attackers.
After the assault she went straight to the police – but she did not tell them the ethnic make-up of the men, that they were speaking Arabic or Farsi.
Selin, aware of the backlash that migrants suffered after the events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve – when hundreds of women were sexually assaulted and robbed by marauding gangs of immigrant youths – instead said she was robbed and said her attackers spoke German.
Now she has told Germany’s Spiegel magazine why she lied. After her initial interview at the end of January she returned to the police 12 hours later to tell them the real story.
She said a friend talked her into going back to the police with the real story because another woman had been raped in the area – an accusation later retracted by the alleged victim.
Selin, who has visited refugee camps in Iraq where she was shocked at the squalor people are living in, did not want to stoke ‘more hatred against migrants ín Germany.’
To help her cope she wrote an open letter to a fictional refugee and posted it on Facebook. It read in part: ‘I am really sorry that your sexist and line-crossing treatment of me could help fuel aggressive racism.
‘I’m going to scream… I will not stand by and watch, and it can happen that racists and concerned citizens name you as the problem. You’re not the problem. You’re usually a wonderful human being who deserves as much as any other to be safe and free.
‘I will not stand by and watch and let it happen that racists and concerned citizens name you as the problem.’
She now says people must never ‘twist the truth’ even if it is politically expedient to do so.
A group called Gesa in Kassel – Active Together Against Sexual Violence – says that sexual assaults by many male migrants have increased.
‘The perpetrators often come from cultures with a different image of women’, said Steffi Burmester of GESA.
‘They are alone and looking to banish their humiliation of flight with confirmation of their masculinity. This is neither to apologise nor to accept their actions, it is how it is.’