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A German Polizei Mercedes-Benz MA3 817, by Radosław Drożdżewski @Wiki Commons

On 25 May 2016, a 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by four immigrants in the German city of Stendal. Lisa (fictitious name) was out for an afternoon jog on the Nordwall, when she was coming up to three “foreign-looking” men. Feeling something was wrong, she changes direction.

According to a report by Allgemeiner Zeitung, suddenly a man jumps out of the bushes and takes hold of both her arms. Three more men surround her. They grab her face, pinch her bottom and fondle her breast. She screams, kicks and punches all around herself. A witness comes to her rescue. The 15-year-old is able to flee. Distraught and in tears, she telephones her mother:

Mama, mama, I’ve been assaulted. Come as quickly as possible.

A year has passed since the attack. Lisa has put the ‘incident’ behind her. At least, that’s what it looks like to the outside world. In an interview published on 29 September, her mother talks about the impact the assault has had on her daughter:

My daughter has been scared since the assault. She is scared to go out at night. When she leaves the house, she always carries pepperspray. She often fears coming face to with one of the perpetrators.

Lisa doesn’t like to talk about the assault. “There is nothing to talk about”, she answered when she was offered therapy. But Lisa doesn’t hide away, her mother says. She goes out jogging. Even has normal relationships with men, appropriate for her age. “She only responds badly to foreign men.” Her mother has been changed by her daughter’s ordeal as well.

All of this has made me so mad. When I was in the car to fetch my daughter, an incredible hate of foreigners washed over me. Yes, I know, it could have been a German committing this crime, but in our case it was four Afghan men. I’m not hostile to foreigners, but when a thing like this happens, thoughts and feelings you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise come over you. You are forced in a corner you don’t want to be in. On their own, these men wouldn’t have done something like this, only in a group. Then they’re courageous.

Two of the four men – Esan N. and Schekib H., both 20 years old – have been convicted to a prison sentence of one year under juvenile law – of which they have served three months, as confirmed by the spokesman of the State’s Court. After their time in jail, both men are to be deported to their country of origin. Charges were made against the other two perpetrators, with investigations still underway.