The mayor of Leipzig, Germany, has condemned the city's police force for suggesting women watch their backs and run in pairs after a jogger was raped by a man with a "southern" complexion in a public park.
Social media exploded with anger, with many saying that it was ridiculous that women were told to accept dangerous conditions by police, who should rather be protecting them.
Mayor Burkhard Jung hit out at police on Monday over their response to the rape, saying that “the state’s answer to this terrible incident and to previous such incidents must be to put more police on the streets and in the parks.”
The jogger in her 50s was reported dragged to the ground as she went running in the popular Rosental park on Friday morning. Her attacker dragged her into a meadow and raped her, the police reported.
During the assault he kicked and punched her so violently in her face that she had to undergo emergency surgery.
On her run through the park near the city zoo she saw a man walking in front of her, near a dog meadow. The police reports that:
“Coming up from behind, as she ran at a higher pace than he did, she quickly passed him. A little while after, however, she noticed that the man had come up from behind, grabbed her and pulled her to the ground. He then hit and kicked her in the face multiple times, dragged her into a meadow and raped her, without speaking a single word the whole time. Afterwards, he ran off in an unknown direction. Because of the violence he inflicted on her, the woman sustained injuries to her face to such a degree, that she had to undergo emergency surgery in a Leipzig clinic.”
Leipzig police responded to the crime by telling a local newspaper that “it would be better if women jogged in pairs, or at the least that they make sure that there is always someone else around.”
“When they run past someone, joggers should always look back to make sure they are not about to be attacked,” the police spokesperson added.
The police noted that a sexual assault of such particular brutality had not happened in Leipzig for a long time.
Bild on Monday questioned why police encouraged women to give up their personal freedoms rather than giving assurances of better protection.
Jung said that “the state’s answer to this terrible incident and to previous such incidents must be to put more police on the streets and in the parks – I have been calling for this for years”.
“We all want to live in a city in which it is self-evident that women can go jogging alone in the park, a city in which everyone is safe,” he told Bild. “We clearly need a more visible police force for that.”
The suspected rapist, with dark hair, a short beard, and aged between 25 and 35, is still at large. He was wearing grey knee-length trousers and a blue-green chequered shirt.
Police are investigating whether the attacker had been involved in two recent sexual assaults in the same area.
Jung had warned prior to the incident that while the city has welcomed 100 000 new inhabitants over the last decade, the Leipzig police force has shrunk by at least 200 officers.
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