/Fact-Check: Is There Truth To Refugee Rape Reports?

Fact-Check: Is There Truth To Refugee Rape Reports?

On April 6, 2016, an unknown opponent struck a 20- year-old female on a play area in the German port city of Rostock and also compelled her to take part in foreplay prior to leaving the scene. The female reported that the guy had actually been dark-skinned.

On Aug. 6, 2016, an unknown guy struck a 21- year-old women college student from China near the college of Bochum, choked her with a rope and also raped her. The female stated the criminal had actually talked to an international accent. The authorities carried out a manhunt for a suspect with a “Central Asian/dark skin kind.”

Both rapes in Germany were gotten by the nationwide media. However among them really did not also take place.

The “college rapist” in Bochum, it ends up, did in fact exist– and also he would certainly take place to assault an additional women trainee from China 3 months later on. Eventually, authorities caught a 31- year-old asylum-seeker from Iraq, that had actually dealt with his spouse and also 2 kids in an evacuee camp situated near the criminal activity scene. A court punished him in the initial decision to 11 years behind bars.

However the declared Rostock rapist did not exist. Authorities had actually shared some uncertainty regarding whether the occurrence had actually in reality happened in their initial news release on the situation and also a forensic examination showed that the female herself had actually been accountable for her injuries. In June 2016, the general public district attorney in Rostock shut the examination, however already the information of a dark-skinned rapist had actually currently been shared countless times online. The Schweriner Volkszeitung paper in the state resources also reported on its site regarding the claimed sex criminal activity, pointing out “interior resources.” The write-up started with words: “The Rostock principal of authorities is maintaining quiet.”

Unwarranted Reports

On The Other Hand, in a record on the Facebook web page NonStopNews Rostock, the dark-skinned guy ended up being a “Südländer,” a term frequently made use of to define those staying in some Mediterranean nations. “Sex criminal activity in Warnemünde? Was a girl raped? Südländer apparently struck female.”

The site Rapefugees.net, at the same time, was much more accurate in its accusations. “Rostock authorities are muffling up dental rape carried out by an Arab.”

The reality behind these unjustified reports is essential due to the fact that such tales affect Germans’ photo of evacuees. They play right into olden clichés regarding the danger of international rapists. Couple of various other debates were mentioned as regularly by individuals in Germany in the last few years for intending to maintain evacuee camps from being opened up in their instant closeness. As soon as “they” are right here, the debate went, the roads would certainly no more be secure for ladies or kids unaccompanied by guys.

After the occasions of brand-new year’s eve in Fragrance on Dec. 31, 2015, throughout which thousands of ladies were sexually attacked, the authorities held boys, mainly of North African removal, in charge of the strikes. The evening brought an end to the feeling of bliss that had actually come with the inviting of thousands of countless evacuees right into the nation previously that year. Some Germans currently located to their scary that the travelers had actually likewise brought troubles together with them right into the nation.

In autumn 2016, the body of Maria L., a college student, was found in a river in the city of Freiburg, where she had actually been sunk after obtaining raped. The suspect in the murder, a Covering asylum-seeker, is presently on test. In springtime 2017, an asylum-seeker from Ghana whose application had actually been denied raped a female that was camping with her sweetheart near the city of Bonn. In a first decision in the event, a court punished the guy to 11.5 years behind bars.

Is Everyday Life A Lot More Hazardous for Ladies Compared To Prior to?

These type of records declare the perspectives of those that have actually constantly held the sight that evacuees threaten. However exists any type of reality to the case that day-to-day life has expanded much more unsafe for ladies staying in Germany as an outcome of the expanding varieties of immigrants? Is life actually much less secure compared to it was for ladies 3 years earlier? As well as just how frequently do evacuees dedicate sex criminal activities?

To address these inquiries, DER SPIEGEL evaluated criminal activity stats, spoke with authorities authorities, spoken with scholastic professionals and also examined about 450 on-line report regarding supposed sex criminal activities declared to have actually been devoted by asylum-seekers and also immigrants. Our press reporters likewise checked out police headquarters, public district attorneys and also courts to discover the history behind the report and also the best end result of any type of process. Some situations were taken another look at as much as 5 various times and also in numerous circumstances, press reporters likewise consulted with individuals associated with the situations for history meetings. The press reporters after that examined the papers and also details along with data-journalism experts and also fact-checkers.


As quickly as you struck such switch on Facebook web pages like Heimatliebe.Deutschland (Love for the German Fatherland), Fact24 internet or any type of neighborhood branch web page of the conservative democratic Different for Germany (AfD) celebration, you get in an identical truth. As well as it is dark. Day in day out, your timeline is loaded with records of terrible fierce criminal activities and also rapes. The photos reveal guys that look Arab or African and also ladies considering the cam as a person holds a turn over their mouth from behind. Or pictures of kids trembling in the darkness.

One specifically outright web page is Rapefugees.net. The website’s makers declare that the authorities, political leaders and also the media are collaborating to cover the reality. Utilizing an on the internet map of Germany, they make use of pins to mark websites of physical violence or sex-related offenses allegedly devoted by evacuees.

The inflammatory term “rapefugee” has actually been showing up with enhancing regularity on reactionary website given that the occasions of brand-new year’s eve 2015 in Fragrance. “Rapefugees not invite” Tees have actually likewise shown up every now and then at demos in Dresden by PEGIDA, the anti-immigration team understood completely as Patriotic Europeans Versus the Islamization of the West.

Investing a little bit of time on the website suffices to leave any individual anxious. It provides Germany, a nation usually commemorated for its loved one safety and security, virtually indistinguishable. The whole map is covered with red, yellow and also purple flags, squares and also pins allegedly noting the places of occurrences of rape, sexual assault and also indecent exposure. There are likewise a couple of markers noted with “HOLE” for claimed murders devoted by evacuees.

A closer take a look at the website exposes that immigrants believed of dedicating these kinds of criminal activities are likewise detailed, not simply evacuees. The website’s makers declare their information is based upon trustworthy resources, consisting of authorities and also paper records. All of it looks actual. Confidential writers upload tales with headings like, “Gang Rape: Bed-Ridden Granny Hospitalized Complying With Rape by Economic Migrants.” Or: “Gang Rape: Just How Justice Authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia Outlawed a Neighborhood Paper from Posting These Images.” Each tale is loaded with the exact same story– that rapes like the ones in Bochum, Freiburg and also Bonn typically aren’t separated situations which evacuees, mainly Muslims, stand for a genuine danger to ladies.

DER SPIEGEL investigated the honesty of the meant occurrences on the Rapefugees.net map. To produce one of the most extensive introduction feasible, the press reporters selected 10 German states, both big and also tiny: amongst them the city-states of Berlin, Bremen and also Hamburg; the western German states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and also Schleswig-Holstein; and also the eastern states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and also Saxony Anhalt. In each of these states, press reporters considered all the declared occurrences reported for2016 In a lot of cases, arises from authorities and also justice examinations were readily available for that duration. There were 445 situations in all.

Some situations showed up numerous times on the map and also a few of the places noted had actually damaged web links or caused web pages that did not consist of any type of details regarding the claimed criminal activity. In some circumstances, neither district attorneys neither authorities had actually ever before come across the supposed criminal activity. Every one of these pins, about a 3rd of the total amount, were strained prior to the thorough coverage started.

Solid Overestimation?

The continuing to be records, as holds true with many sound lies, consist of at the very least a little bit of reality. In around one-third of the situations DER SPIEGEL explored– around a numerous them– the suspects or criminals are without a doubt evacuees. In an additional third of the situations, the attackers continue to be unknown. The continuing to be ones are immigrants with unsolved residency standing, European Union people or, in 22 situations, German nationals (see visuals listed below). However the site’s incendiary name produces the impact that 445 sex criminal activities had actually all been devoted by evacuees.

Graphic: Dangerous Half-Truths


Graphic: Dangerous Half-Truths

The summaries of the criminal activities offered on the site are frequently wrong. The site checklists 205 of the 291 occurrences evaluated as situations of rape. However reporting right into the insurance claims located that rape was just believed in 59 of the situations. Although these ought to not be minimized, a number of the situations concerned were much less extreme occurrences of sexual offense or harassment. In 47 situations, the authorities figured out that the occurrence did not satisfy the standards to be taken into consideration a criminal act. To puts it simply, the map appears to include some solid overestimation, at the very least when compared with the searchings for of authorities and also judicial authorities.

Twenty-six suspects or criminals were evacuees in the rapes explored. Each of the criminal activities devoted is, obviously, one way too many, however the best number is reduced compared with just what the map recommends.

Eighteen evacuees were founded guilty on costs of rape, and also courts likewise founded guilty or promoted judgments versus 51 evacuees– for sexual assault or sexual offense in over half of the situations. An added 18 immigrants have actually been convicted that are not evacuees however whose residency standing stays unsolved, consisting of Turks and also Afghans, numerous Serbians, an Azerbaijani and also a Ukrainian visitor that sexually abused an intoxicated female at Oktoberfest in Munich. 6 of those founded guilty are EU people and also 8 are German. They consist of a 46- year-old guy that struck a blind female in the Bavarian community of Pfaffenhofen from behind on an open road and also sexually attacked her.

On the Rapefugees.net map, the situation is kept in mind as a “whitewash effort.” However no details is offered regarding just what could have been brushed up under the carpet.

A closer assessment of the criminal activities for which evacuees were founded guilty revealed that lots of happened in evacuee camps. For the most parts, the sufferers were the kids of various other evacuees. In August 2016, for instance, a young Eritrean guy drew a six-year-old woman, also from Eritrea, right into his space in a Hamburg camp and also abused her. Authorities apprehended the guy.

Twenty-four of the records explored on Rapefugees.net seem incorrect insurance claims. They consist of the rape in Rostock that was most likely produced, however nonetheless stays detailed on the map. As well as the situation of a 15- year-old institution woman from the city of Möchengladbach, that asserted in January 2016 that she had actually been raped near the city’s main train terminal. The criminal had actually a “tanned face” she stated and also spoke to an international accent. In action, mad neighborhood homeowners created their very own vigilante team. A week later on, the authorities introduced that the criminal activity “had actually not taken place” in the method explained by the teenager. The claimed criminal was a colleague that stated every little thing had actually occurred with shared permission. Public district attorneys opened up an examination right into the 15- year-old for composing a criminal activity, however later on dropped it.

A Much Less Significant Truth

For the majority of the report on the Rapefugees map, it’s uncertain in the beginning look whether the tale holds true or incorrect. With many, the only takeaway is that there was some type of experience in between the criminal and also sufferer. Nonetheless, the occurrences on the map are frequently detailed as tried rape, gang rape or, instead inventively: “GANG RAPE Effort and also Whipping Strikes by ISIS Sex Jihadists.” The real occurrences as reported by authorities appear a great deal much less significant.

To mention however a couple of instances:

  • May 13, 2016, in Hagen, Germany: At twelve o’clock at night, 3 boys bugged a 13- year-old woman at the train terminal and also searched her. The 13- year-old kid accompanying her stepped in and also the 3 boys after that struck him. Passersby got here and also the 3 boys took off. The summary offered of the guys: “North African look.”
  • May 21, 2016, Düsseldorf: A pair was strolling along the financial institutions of the Rhine River when the girl was instantly embraced from behind and also fondled. As her sweetheart actioned in, he was struck by numerous individuals. The summary of all criminals: “Mediterranean look.”
  • July 2, 2016, Nuremberg: A girls was strolling house at 3 a.m. when a person approached her from behind and also touched her sexually. She yelled and also he took off. The physical summary offered: “Mediterranean look.”
  • Aug. 28, 2016, Türkismühle in country Saarland: An unknown guy came close to a 38- year-old female at the train terminal. He pressed her versus the wall surface, ordered her from behind and also tried to kiss her. As she “vigorously talked to him,” he took off. Summary: “Mediterranean look.”

There’s no doubt regarding the severity of the 4 situations, however unlike the insurance claims made by Rapefugees.net, they were not rapes. As well as there was no indicator of declared “ISIS sex jihadists.”

District attorneys went down the examinations in all of these situations due to the fact that they were incapable to recognize any type of attackers. The exact same holds true of the examinations right into regarding 29 percent of the occurrences detailed on the map: The inquiry about whether the criminals were evacuees will likely never ever be dealt with. It is definitely feasible that it holds true in a few of the situations. As well as in theory, it’s likewise feasible that of the unknown attackers were asylum-seekers. However that’s not likely in the event that unravelled at the train terminal in Hagen. Witnesses claim there was just one criminal which he talked accent-free German.

Research study right into this information is extremely outlined and also complicated, however it’s the only method of obtaining a real understanding on just what these type of insurance claims actually total up to and also the method which conservative sites run. It is the merging of lots of points that agitate individuals in Germany: the evacuee situation, worry regarding residential safety and also the loss of rely on national politics and also the conventional media. It likewise shows the expanding impact of sites and also online forums where individuals could equally verify their suspicious worldviews.

Spreading Out Concern

There has actually been a presumption in Germany– one that goes deep right into also the center course– that the conventional media made a deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel to conceal extensive criminal task in order not to intimidate assistance for her evacuee plans.

In the previous 2 years, lots of viewers have actually contacted DER SPIEGEL urging the newsmagazine to quit concealing the reality and also plainly mention the risk: that evacuees are raping ladies and also kids in Germany. One female created that it was crucial “to report regarding the whitewash of details regarding rapes devoted by travelers.” She likewise regularly sent out connect to internet websites gathering claimed rape situations allegedly carried out by evacuees.

The classic media discover themselves unsure right here. If we do not cover the concern and also regarding the reports distributing online, doubters see that as evidence that something is being concealed. Yet if we do cover details sites like the one covered in this tale, we risk of improving the account of web pages suggested to provoke disgust online.

Individuals behind Rapefugees.net, that invest a lot time loading the map with web content, are obviously similarly meticulous in their initiatives to hide their identifications. The imprint describes an individual called F. Mueller in Uruguay and also the web page is held on a web server based in the USA. Questions made by DER SPIEGEL went unanswered. Facebook erased the website’s web page on the social media sites system in Could 2016.

The website’s drivers manipulate the basic anxiety of foreignness– an unrealized anxiety that many people could nurture. Making the globe easier, individuals tend to refer particular qualities to particular teams of immigrants, suggesting that entire teams of individuals could promptly obtain abided right into particular bothersome stereotypes: Roma take, Italians want to tease and also evacuees, the majority of which are Muslims, threaten and also rape ladies.


Why this details bias is connected to evacuees is something that Wolfgang Benz is aiming to discuss. The teacher emeritus at the Technical College of Berlin, that investigates bias, thinks that the arrival of the evacuees has actually “reactivated” a photo that has actually long existed psychological of Germans– among a nation inhabited by international pressures acting like barbarians.

” Today, the crowd that is attacking us, is no more the Russians however the evacuees, and also the rapes, as in every previous battle, belong to the conduct of battle,” states Benz, defining one of the most current model of that photo. He states the occasions of brand-new year’s eve 2015 in Fragrance and also the tone of the coverage on them has actually worsened that bias. Every record of an evacuee dedicating sexual offense or harassment, he states, functions as an amplifier, and also records on the contrary are no more taken seriously.

The general public does, actually, just become aware of a handful of the sexual offenses that are devoted every year, although this is not due to the fact that they are hidden. There are numerous that you might fill up a whole paper with records regarding them daily. Inning accordance with authorities criminal activity stats, about 47,401 declared criminal offenses versus sex-related self-reliance were tape-recorded in 2016, devoted by Germans along with by non-Germans. That stands for regarding 130 reported criminal activities each day. Truth number is likely a lot more than that, however lots of sufferers do not most likely to the authorities.

When the term “rape” shows up, many individuals intuitively think about an unidentified opponent drawing ladies right into the shrubs during the night. However inning accordance with estimations by the Facility for Criminology, a study institute run by Germany’s federal government along with state federal governments, the claimed criminal is just an unfamiliar person in one-fifth of all reported rapes and also major sexual offenses. Usually, the claimed criminal is a colleague, close friend or loved one.

For the previous numerous years, the German Federal Bad Guy Authorities Workplace (BKA) has actually launched a yearly scenario record on criminal activity throughout the nation, with an unique focus on crime amongst immigrants. The term “immigrants” in this context consists of; asylum-seekers; those that have actually been permitted to remain briefly in spite of not having actually gotten asylum standing; illegal aliens; and also evacuees that have actually been brought right into Germany on the basis of allocations. Suspects whose asylum applications have actually been authorized are not consisted of. At the very least one immigrant was indentified as a suspect in 3,404 of the sex-related offenses devoted in2016 That’s greater than two times as lots of situations as in the previous year (see visuals listed below). The boost showed particularly significant in situations of sexual offense and also the sexual assault of kids.

Graphic: Criminal offenses against sexual self-determination


Graphic: Offender offenses versus sex-related self-reliance

” We, as the Bavarian authorities, take really seriously that migration affects individuals’s sensation of safety,” states Harald Pickert, the leader of a professional panel in the state’s Inside Ministry, which has actually been examining sex criminal activities that have actually happened in the state over the last 5 years.

The team is looking for to recognize just what could have transformed and also just what has actually continued to be the exact same. It is wanting to solution to inquiries like: Where are the criminal activities devoted? That are the criminals and also that are the sufferers? Exists something that perpetrators normally share?

The panel exists due to the fact that Bavarian Inside Preacher Joachim Herrmann introduced quickly prior to the German government political election last September that the variety of rapes and also major sexual assaults had actually climbed in Bavaria throughout the initial fifty percent of 2017 by 47.9 percent. He stated 126 of the 685 criminal activities might be associateded with immigrants, 91 percent greater than in the exact same duration the previous year. The last fact about mirrors the searchings for of the BKA, however the Bavarian criminal activity stats in addition count those that have actually been given asylum as component of its numbers for the classification of immigrants.

Did New Groping Infraction Change Stats?

Pickert, 54, a replacement authorities commissioner in Bavaria, links the increase in records of sex-related offenses to numerous variables. One is that lots of German people initially discovered that searching was a culpable crime adhering to the dispute over the Fragrance strikes. As well as an adjustment in the legislation in 2016 suggested that groping is no more entirely culpable as a disrespect, however is currently clearly taken into consideration to be unwanted sexual advances. Formerly, searching had actually been lacking from the stats on sex-related offenses preserved by authorities, now such occurrences are consisted of. “It’s that and also not some modification in day-to-day truth that clarifies the unexpected rise in the variety of criminal activities reported,” Pickert clarifies.

Just what is noticeable in the stats, nevertheless, is that the variety of believed German sex-crime criminals has actually either gone stale or decreased, while the variety of immigrants believed of dedicating such criminal activities has actually enhanced dramatically. This pattern, Pickert asserts, has actually shown up for 5 years. “It’s not surprising that,” he includes, given that even more immigrants have actually gotten here throughout that time. Futhermore, he states, when compared with the German populace, immigrants are much more regularly young and also male and also are more probable to reside in a big city, do not have education and learning, be out of work and also have no revenue. “These could all be variables that advertise criminal habits.”

Throughout the initial fifty percent of 2017, Pickert states, regarding one-fifth of all sex criminal activities were devoted by immigrants staying in evacuee real estate. Regarding 20 percent of all sufferers were themselves evacuees, he states. This indicates that, at the very least proportionally talking, various other evacuees go to certain danger of ending up being sufferers of sexual offenses by immigrants.

So, just what can be done to counter this advancement? “Even if a specific section of the populace is noticeable for the variety of sex criminal activities it dedicates does not imply we require brand-new responses,” suggests Martin Rettenberger, the supervisor of the Facility for Criminology.

‘ Arabs or Africans Not Fundamentally A Lot More Inclined to Attacks’

He states that a few of the immigrants originate from cultures where sex offenses are much more hardly ever penalized, where these type of criminal activities are devoted much more regularly. “However many people promptly adjust their actions to their brand-new social setting,” Rettenberger states. “Social worths and also standards that were as soon as internalized could still be transformed. Arabs or Africans are not inherently more probable to dedicate attacks compared to Europeans.”

In the USA, he keeps in mind, 5 times as many individuals are sufferers of deliberate murder compared to in Germany. “But no one would certainly claim Americans are much more fierce compared to Germans.” Just what’s secret, he thinks, is the history of the person. He keeps in mind that lots of sex culprits have damaged impulse control, frequently incorporated with reduced self-worth. In an especially high variety of situations, criminals have unpredictable characters or have actually endured injury– and also lots of typically aren’t based on the all-natural controls put in by close social partnerships, having actually left to Germany by themselves. Unsurprisingly, such variables are much more existing amongst evacuees compared to to name a few sectors of the populace.

The “just lasting option, if we desire safety and security,” Rettenberger suggests, is lasting combination: education and learning, tasks and also social help. “I could recognize any type of person that does not seem like spending even more loan right into prospective sex-related culprits. However I anticipate much more from the political leaders.”

By Laura Backes, Anna Clauss, Maria-Mercedes Hering, Beate Lakotta, Sandra ÖÖfner, Ansgar Siemens and also Achim Tack