German pools are now forced to hire burly security guards in black uniforms to deter Muslim refugees from touching women.
The security guards are reportedly Middle Eastern, to make the refugees more comfortable, according to USA Today. One of Berlin’s largest pools is adjacent to two major refugee housing centers, which attract people from countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
German civil society organizations have created councils to teach refugees Western norms at pools — chief among these norms is not touching women.
One of the social workers trying to teach refugee’s German cultural norms told PRI that many of them “don’t know how to behave.” Social workers are distributing cartoons at refugee centers, and putting up posters at local pools as part of their campaign to educate refugees.
In some cases, German girls have taken to wearing temporary tattoo’s at public pools that say “no,” to stop unwanted sexual attention. A leaked German police report from July reveals that “sexual offences are recording a huge increase.”
“In particular, offenses of rape and sexual abuse of children in bathing establishments is significant,” according to the report. The police report identifies the offenders as “for the most part immigrants.”
“The ‘new citizens’, as we call them, have three main problems. They do not speak German, they have no knowledge of German or European bathing culture, and few are powerful swimmers,” Berthold Schmitt, a German manager of nearly 6,000 pools told German media in July.
Social workers have also had to grapple with teaching refugees to shower before entering the pool, and with teenagers who don’t know how to swim. “They don’t like to be told they can’t swim,” one social worker elaborated to PRI.
The German town of Bornheim was forced to ban adult male refugees from swimming at its local pool in January 2016, after repeated accounts of sexual assault. “There have been complaints of sexual harassment and chatting-up going on in this swimming pool … by groups of young men,” the Deputy Mayor of Bornheim told The Guardian at the time.
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