A woman, who came forward and told her story of being sexually assaulted in Cologne, Germany, on New Years Eve, was victimized a second time after an Internet video gave out her identity and suggested her account of the attack was anti-Muslim propaganda.
The 26-year-old woman named Selina withheld her full name when she gave an interview to German television channel SWR Fernsehen last week. In the interview, she described her moment of terror being surrounded by dozens of men who looked at her like “free meat at the supermarket” and groped her repeatedly. She noted that her attackers spoke Arabic and did not seem to understand German. She described the group of men as “southern looking” with “darker skin.”
In a follow-up interview with SWR Fernsehen, Selina describes what happened to her after the interview aired. Someone posted a video containing a portion of her interview and suggesting all of the reports blaming Muslims for the Cologne sexual assaults were propaganda. Titles appear in the video which say, “Strange that Selina 1 day after this horror (3 days before this interview) on Insta still was happy.”
That’s apparently a reference to her Instagram account which the video creator found along with her Facebook page. The video not only suggests Selina is wrong about who attacked her but includes images of her full name and where she works from her Facebook page.
The video went viral and was viewed nearly a quarter of a million times. Selina eventually saw it on the Facebook page of an Islamic preacher who has been described as radical in the German media. She tells SWR Fernsehen she became frightened, wondering, “What if someone sees who believes it or has a radical background?” She began getting threatening calls at work and people were attacking her on Facebook as a racist and a right-winger.
Eventually, Selina was able to confront the maker of the video and threatened to sue him for character assassination. The video was removed.
Though she was surprised by the reaction to telling her own story of victimization, Selina says she would do it again. “I won’t let myself give up and that’s why I talk about it openly,” she tells SWR Fernsehen.