Three 14-Year-old and two twelve-year-old suspected on Friday evening in Mülheim an der Ruhr, a young woman in a forest, raped (the star reported). The twelve-year-old criminal incompetent. A 14-Year-old is due to danger of repetition in custody. Meanwhile it became known that in Muelheim last Sunday, suspected of a further sexual Assault against a girl, possibly a child was involved.

How children and young people are met and sexual offenders? What is the role of all sexuality? And we talk often about the perpetrators instead of the victims? A conversation with Dr. Mithu M. Sanyal, cultural scientist, journalist and author.

expert: “In the case of the suspects in Mülheim

Mrs Sanyal could also have played a role,” a question that is currently a lot of busy: How children and young people can be offenses at all, to such serious Sexual able?

Dr. Mithu M. Sanyal: sexual offences, such as rape, are something Terrible. For many people, they are the worst crime ever. It is hard for us, therefore, anyway, to explain the occasion or the Background of such atrocities, irrespective of their age or origin of the offender. In the case of the alleged gang rape in Mülheim, the backgrounds are still largely unclear. Therefore, a subject can only speculate. In General, can just play in the case of young offenders, their backgrounds, such as their own experiences with sexual abuse or major disempowering experience. Since the suspect might have acted in the group, and apparently also physically violent have become, may have Power and dominance played a role.

What is it about the perpetrators at this age? Sexuality plays in the case of minors and juvenile sex offenders at all as a supporting role?

This is quite difficult to say. One of the suspects, 14-Year-old should be in place before the alleged gang-rape and flashy, seem to have in the area of criminal law of sexual harassment. Sexuality could be the motive have been. Whether this is also the case of the twelve-year-old suspect so, remains questionable. For this, crucial questions are still open such as: How active you have been, perhaps? How strong is the pressure of the group was? You are an accomplice or Mitopfer …

There is also the question: to what Extent were Stakeholders involved under pressure?

… Mitopfer? Can you elaborate?

don’t get me wrong: the perpetrator remains a perpetrator. But in the case of group rape, especially at a young age, the question arises: to what Extent were Stakeholders involved under pressure? There are researches which show, that an accomplice may have a fear of becoming a victim, you should say ‘no’ to such a project. And also the relationship of the Parties plays a crucial role. A friend or acquaintance, you can say rather “no” than, for example, his brother. A very small percentage of sex offenders are psychopaths in the medical sense. This means that they lack the ability to feel empathy, and transcend, therefore, sexual boundaries is easier.


Dr. Mithu M. Sanyal’s cultural scientist, a journalist and author. She has written several books, including “rape – aspects of a crime”, in Sanyal, the “cultural history of rape” examined.

More about Dr. Mithu M. Sanyal learn here.

©Ulrich Baumgarten/ Picture-Alliance

you speak of a “pressure” among the parties Involved, to participate. In the case of group rapes, a group dynamics plays a role?

Absolutely. Rape is usually an act that one commits without witnesses. That makes law enforcement so difficult. In the case of group rape, the Parties are also witnesses. Just so you know it; so that one takes it really. It is also a performative purpose plays a role, perhaps a Form of group coercion. But there are also studies that there can be, in certain cases, the Homo-erotic aspects of a group rape by men on women. It’s less active homosexuality, but more to the act of the common taboo to break. The victim is in this Scenery even more object. However, these forms of rape are more likely to be the exception. In most rape cases, the perpetrators know their victims, and the rape takes place at home. Everything seems to be in Mülheim, Germany not to be the case.

Differ in this respect, adults of minors and youth sexual offenders?

no, not really. Most of the violent crime, even rapes, are committed by people between the ages of 17 and 30 years. But this is a wide age range. Rather, the social context is crucial. For example, there is a disproportionately high number of rapes in prisons or in the military. There is also a statistical fact that the majority of the group rapes.

The police called Copycat criminals

In the year 2018, the 8047 Suspect in the area of rape, sexual coercion and sexual Assault in the particularly heavy case, according to the BKA data of 69 children under the age of 14 and 895 young people between the ages of 14 and 17. The case in Mülheim is rather an exception. Nevertheless, The Echo seems to be especially loud – in the media, but also in politics and social networks. What is the reason?

The fact is appalling, and there is the natural Reflex to comment on this horror and to want to understand. This leads to a Dilemma: the media reports about these cases, politicians comment on you, people in social networks also and this leads to copycat cases. Like maybe in Mülheim, Germany: Two days after the alleged gang rape to circle a young girl of five growing up suspects and sexually molested have been. A classic result of a crime: The police called Copycat criminals. I don’t want to say, however, that we should no longer talk about rape. Quite the contrary, it is solely because of the prevention is important to do this. We should not formalize crime is just a sensation.

What do you think of the claim, the reset of criminal responsibility down to be able to have about twelve-year-old prosecute?

I would like to answer this with a question: are There sexual Assault of children in day-care centres – should we lock up small children? I think of of the claim, the criminal responsibility from the age of 14, I think, in many cases, too young. However, there is the juvenile law and the possibility, according to carefully deal with such cases. Of course, I can understand the Reflex. We want to make everyone a little against sexual offences, and most of all fast. Since it is tempting to earlier, and harsher penalties. However, higher fines and a reduction of criminal responsibility are not just useful.

Why are you of this view?

on the one Hand: Higher penalties lead to more of the display decreases behavior. To put it bluntly: If I know that my rapist ends up in the electric chair drops, the Chance that I report him.

on the Other hand: very young sex offenders are often become victims themselves and are in need of attention and in the long term, help met. A prison sentence would not be the solution. It would increase the Chance that you will be raped in prison, a place where rape and also free to fall back into criminal. In the case of young offenders, a psychological Intervention is much more purposeful.

It is important to identify what sexual boundaries at all

are How can be prevented in this way that children and young people perpetrators of sexual violence are?

There are many things we can do. The begins with sexual stereotypes and the gender glasses off. An example: at the moment, the preventive work is limited to the fact that girls ‘no’ need to say and boys are supposed to accept this ‘no’. Girls should also be allowed to say ‘Yes’ and boys ‘no.’ So I don’t want to say: rape is just bad Sex. But just in the grey area, where the sexual transgressions begin, you can on the most successful intervene. And already in day-care centres that children learn, it is not want to order something and be loved for it anyway. It is also important to identify what sexual boundaries are. As strange as it sounds: If you ask three people on the street, where a rape begins, you will probably receive three different answers. We have to work at it, that we are to learn the overall company, and what is the meaning of sexual consensus. And, interestingly, people can learn their own limits and communicate exceeding rare boundaries with other people.

The victim in Mülheim, according to the police growing up, so between 18 and 21 years old. What consequences can have such an experience and for a young person?

Very different. The act itself can have a large psychological impact on the victim, but also the one After that. It can also be very traumatizing, if you will, about passed on as “The victim” through the media and social networks. And thus under permanent observation stands: what is the reaction of the victim? How is he now? Victims are the expectations, because of: Because they are victims, they need to be broken and miserable without his. That may be, but need not be so. The victim is allowed to decide for themselves how to do it for him. And also, what help it needs and at what time.

we are not actually Talking too much about fact, and the perpetrators instead of their victims?

As I said: We should talk more with the Victims, instead of about you. What do you want; what you need. Most of the victims trust first a Person – it is often friends, usually of the same age in the case of young Victims. Only: no one is prepared for such a Situation. What to do if a entrusted that you were raped? Many of us react in a panic. This is a social skill that we must learn. I am part of a research group that deals with it. No matter how the victim of the rape, responds, whether it suffers or not, it is important that the Affected find their own way and the necessary assistance from us.

Interview: Florian Schillat

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Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.