A victim of the Cologne sex attacks has spoken out, describing how she was hit and pulled to the ground by migrant men on New Year’s Eve.
The woman, named as Miriam, told BBC World Service how she is now “anxious” whenever she leaves the house, especially when men who “look like those guys” start approaching her.
Describing the attack, she said: “I was with a friend of mine, we were almost at my house when my turned around and said ‘Someone is following us.’
“I looked and there were two men. One of them tried to hug me. I pushed him away and took some steps back. Then I took out my mobile and said ‘I’m going to call the police if you don’t let us go.’ He was talking back at me in a language I didn’t understand.”
At this point she turned around and saw her friend on the ground as a man hit her on the head. When she tried to intervene he started hitting her, pulled her to the ground and tried to grab her phone.
The men eventually left and the girls ran home. She described them as having “dark hair and dark skin” and being around 25 to 30 years old. She answers ‘Yes’ when asked if she believes them to be of North African descent.
Miriam also spoke of her disappointment with the police, accusing them of failing to get back to her after she reported the attack and even failing to properly investigate the crime scene.
Her mother, Jozi, wipes tears from her cheek as her daughter speaks. She says the lots of men have come to the city recently, congregating in certain areas, while local migrant centres are “full of young men who have nothing to do”.
She says how she was always a protective mother, but on the evening of the attacks her partner persuaded her to let her daughter go out on her own.
“And then I got a little bit more relaxed, and then this happens and you just can’t stop blaming yourself. That one time you let her go, and this happened. It’s really, really hard.”