A student attacked by a gang of four men has accused police of blaming her because she had blonde hair and sexy clothing.
The incident happened when the young woman, identified only by her first name Sabina, who lives in the capital Vienna had been waiting for a train on the S6 line at the city’s main Westbahnhof station.
The 20-year-old, who was hospitalised after the attack by four men in which she was beaten and robbed, told Heute newspaper: “I felt so helpless.”
“I had been standing on the platform waiting for the train when a man came up to me and spoke to me in a foreign language. He then started putting his hands through my hair and made it clear that in his cultural background there were hardly any blonde women. I told him to go away, and for a short while he really did go away.”
“But it was only to get his pals and a bit later he came back with three others. They stole my handbag and my cards.” And if that was not enough, she said that the four had then attacked her, bashing her to the ground in a rage before running off.
She said that from what they had said she understood they were from Afghanistan and that as she lay on the floor in agony nobody on the platform had helped. After being treated at hospital for bruising to her head, shoulder and elbow as well as her spine and hips, she went to police.
And her distress had turned to anger when police had told her that she should change her hair colour and should not have been travelling alone after 8pm on public transport.
She said: “At first I was scared, but now I’m more angry than anything. After the attack they told me that women shouldn’t be alone on the streets after 8pm. And they also gave me other advice, telling me I should dye my hair dark and also not dress in such a provocative way. Indirectly that means I was partly to blame for what happened to me. That is a massive insult.”
The girl who is studying acting said the police advice is going in the completely wrong direction. She said she will now avoid huge crowds and for example this year will not be attending the popular music concert Danube Island Festival.
She said: “The police told me that attacks are now a daily routine. And it’s going to get worse.” Asked what she would say if she saw the men that attacked again, she replied: “Nothing, I would simply spray pepper-spray in their faces.”
The story in Heute has some more details.
For the drama student, this is all going in the wrong direction: “I don’t see why I should withdraw into myself. I am a foreigner myself. I was born in Dubai and my father is an Iraqi. But I converted to Christianity, learned German and adapted. Everyone who comes here should do that.”