Police fear a gang-rape phenomenon known as ‘taharrush gamea’ in the Arab world and seen in attacks on women across German cities at the New Year has now spread to Europe.
The name of the practice translates to ‘collective harassment’ and is carried out by large groups of men who sexually assault lone women, either by groping, or in some instances, raping them.
The men first surround their victim in circles. Some then sexually assault her, while others not directly involved watch or divert outsiders’ attention to what is occurring.
Sometimes the terrified victim – in a state of shock and unable to respond – is also robbed during the ordeal.
And the attack usually goes unpunished because the large number of perpetrators and chaos of the attack means authorities are unable to identify those involved.