By Stefan Frank
With New Year’s Eve being just around the corner, women in Germany, Austria and other taharrush-prone areas of Europe may wonder whether it`s safe to leave home on the last day of the year. Of course, it is, ladies – just don’t count on the police to protect you. This is the point the police in Vienna is currently hammering home to the city’s female population by handing out 6,000 pocket alarms: handy devices which are supposed to scare off attackers by resounding a shrill noise of 110 db, the average human pain threshold. Yes, you heard right, this year’s New Year’s Eve is going to be even louder.
According to Associated Press, Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said Tuesday that police will be handing out the devices at entry points to Vienna’s “Sylvesterpfad” — a popular tourist route snaking through the inner city visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year.
Of course, there are other means to make sure that the start in the new year will be untroubled. Since June, Germans can conveniently buy all the pepper spray they need in the drugstores of DM, Germany’s largest chain. A few weeks ago, German newspapers reported also about „Safe Shorts“, a new hightech chastity belt which is selling online for 149,00 Euro (plus shipping fees).
In the face of 1,054 criminal charges for sexual offences on New Year’s Eve just in Cologne and virtually zero (i.e. five) convictions, women in Germany and Austria have to either trust in technology or follow the advice of Cologne`s mayor Henriette Reker, to keep potential rapists „an arm’s length away“ – whatever works best.
„Express“, Cologne`s regional tabloid (published by DuMont Schauberg, the same left-leaning publishing house that also owns the Israeli newspaper „Haaretz“), has a more open-minded approach. Its list of advice for women who want to prepare for the upcoming holidays doesn’t just include pocket alarms and pepper spray but also: boxing, Krav Maga, Ji-Jitsu, Karate and Wing Chun. The paper issued this advice already back in February, so one may hope that the female readers spent enough time in the dojo to start the New Year on a good footing.