W.hen the nightmare falls about a perfectly normal life, there is usually no warning. Sometimes it even happens in broad daylight.
Editor in the “Life” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
A young woman is cycling through a small forest between Berlin and Potsdam on June 30, 2020. She visited her father for afternoon coffee and left in time to get some bread from the health food store on the way home. She knows the path through the forest well. At twenty minutes, it’s a little longer than the road, but she likes the forest. She is 20 years old and in a phase in which the meaning of her life consists of waiting and searching, as she calls it when she remembers last summer in a conversation on the phone: What happens next? Will she stay in Germany? How should you go about studying when everything is online because of Covid?
The sun is shining, she is in a good mood
The 20-year-old comes from a blended family and gets along well with both parents. Almost two years she was in New Zealand, Work and Travel, a great time. The planned visit to Canada in the spring has been canceled due to the pandemic. Instead, she will probably study engineering, where exactly is still unclear. First she lives with her mother again and works in a café. But this summer Tuesday is her day off, and she is already looking forward to having plenty of time the next day even after the morning shift. The sun is shining, short-sleeved weather, she is in a good mood. Just the bell of your bike is annoying because some screw is loose. The whole way she has to hold the big, fat thing with one hand so that it doesn’t rattle with every shock. That’s how it was back then, she says today.
Around 7 p.m., the 20-year-old in the forest was asked by another cyclist in English for directions to the Wannsee S-Bahn station. The man is holding a kitchen knife. When she wants to drive away, he pushes her to the ground. He chokes her with both hands. He is dragging her into the forest. He raped her. So it is in the indictment against Sinisa K.
The 30-year-old Serb has had to answer before the Berlin district court since February. A slim guy with a bald head and sloping shoulders. Even with a mask, the similarity to the mug shots from last summer is striking. He confessed to the deeds: In just five weeks, Sinisa K. raped six women in the Berlin area.
It’s about life and limb
A seventh just got away. Sinisa K. had pushed the 18-year-old into the forest to a place where there was a tent in which a homeless man was staying. “Personally, I think it is very fortunate that the perpetrator was not able to maintain control one hundred percent,” said the police officer in court who questioned the young woman after the crime. Sinisa K. fled. Three hours later, he raped another woman only three miles away.
What has been negotiated for two months under the cream-colored stucco ceiling in a hall of the Berlin district court is the classic fearful scenario of every woman: You are traveling alone, maybe in the park, somewhere in the forest, suddenly a strange man is dragging you behind the nearest bush, and it is is about life and limb.
Fortunately, that never happens to most women. The risk of becoming a victim of a sexual crime is much greater in your own four walls or with friends than in nature. Jürgen Biedermann, professor at the University of the Police of the State of Brandenburg, has broken down the numbers of the current police crime statistics: In 23 percent of the cases in which a report of sexual assault or rape was made in 2019, the alleged perpetrator was the husband who Partner or other family member. In 49 percent of the crimes, the victim knew the perpetrator. Only 21 percent were foreign offenders. With around 15,000 sexual assaults in 2019, this affects a good 3,000 acts. That is a little more than there were traffic fatalities.
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