Mass sexual assault

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Mass sexual assault is the collective sexual assault of women, and sometimes children, in public by groups of men. Typically acting under the protective cover of large gatherings, victims have reported being groped, stripped, beaten, bitten, penetrated and raped.[1]


In Egypt, several mass sexual assaults have received wide international coverage.[2] In Arabic, the term "mass sexual assaults" translates as تحرش جماعي (taḥarrush jamāʿī), often incorrectly transliterated in the media[3] as "taharrush gamea" following a German police report into the 2015/2016 New Year's Eve sexual assaults in Germany.[4]:15


During New Year's Eve celebrations 2015/2016, incidents of mass sexual assault and numerous thefts occurred in Germany, mainly in Cologne city center.[5]


Several cases of mass sexual assault have been reported in India. In July 2012, a teenage girl was sexually assaulted for up to 45 minutes by a large group of men outside a bar in Guwahati, Assam. No one intervened until the police arrived.[6]

During the 2002 riots in Gujarat, targeted violence against Muslim women and children documented by civil society groups reported "mass rapes, live burials and burnings, acid attacks, impaling, and other brutal forms of torture that was deeply gendered, and linked violence against women with violence on their children – both born and unborn".[7] Survivors reported "that sexual violence consisted of forced nudity, mass rapes, gang-rapes, mutilation, insertion of objects into bodies, cutting of breasts, slitting the stomach and reproductive organs, and carving of religious symbols on women's body parts."[8] The Concerned Citizens' Tribunal, characterised the use of rape "as an instrument for the subjugation and humiliation of a community".[8]


British television presenter Saira Khan said in 2016 that she had been sexually assaulted by a crowd in Pakistan in 2007 while filming a documentary for the BBC. She accused the BBC of having ignored the attack.[9]


Female participants at We Are Sthlm, a summer music festival for teenagers in Stockholm, reported in 2014 and 2015 that they had been surrounded and molested by groups of males, mostly teenage boys. Police were accused of having failed to publicize the attacks because the suspects were mostly from Afghanistan. The incidents came to light only after the 2016 New Year's Eve attacks in Germany when the Stockholm Police were accused of covering up the incidents, which they denied.[10]

United States[edit]

In July 1999 Woodstock 1999 took place and police subsequently investigated four complaints of sexual assault and rape, including digital rape, that allegedly occurred. At least one eyewitness, who was working as a volunteer at the event, reported to the Washington Post that he had seen a woman who was crowd surfing pulled down into the mosh pit and raped by five men.[11]

On 11 June 2000 at least 44 women reported being sexually assaulted and robbed by a group of 60 men during the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York. The police were heavily criticized for their handling of the attacks.[12]

In February 2001, witnesses saw groups of men grope women, tear off their clothes and apparently digitally penetrate them during the Mardi Gras celebrations in Seattle, Washington.[13]


In July 2015, there were allegations that at least 20 girls or women at the Ho Tay water park in Hanoi, Vietnam were reportedly sexually assaulted by a group of more than 70 men who assaulted, scratched and inappropriately touched them.[14] Men groped the women and tore their bikinis from their bodies, and Vietnamese officials blamed the women for being attacked. Bystanders ignored the women while they were assaulted, and people cheered and applauded the men who posted photos of themselves assaulting the women on Facebook.[15][16][17][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barak, Gregg (2003). Violence and Nonviolence: Pathways to Understanding. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications. pp. 77–78. ISBN 0-7619-2696-8.
  2. ^ "Lara Logan breaks her silence, 60 Minutes, CBS". YouTube. 1 May 2011.transcript at CBS.
  3. ^ Shams, Alex (21 January 2016). "Neither Taharrush Gamea Nor Sexism Are Arab 'Cultural Practices'" Archived 2017-03-09 at the Wayback Machine, Huffington Post.
  4. ^ "Bericht des Ministeriums für Inneres und Kommunales über die Übergriffe am Hauptbahnhof Köln in der Silvesternacht" Archived 2016-01-22 at the Wayback Machine, Ministerium für Inneres und Kommunales des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, 10 January 2016, pp. 1–15.
  5. ^ "Mehr als 100 Anzeigen nach Übergriffen an Silvester" [More than 100 reports of assaults on New Year's Eve]. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Archived from the original on 25 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.(in German)
  6. ^ Helen Pidd, "Indian anger over media footage of girl being sexually assaulted" Archived 2017-02-02 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 15 July 2012.
  7. ^ Jacob, Cecilia (October 2016). "Children Affected by Political Violence in India". In D'Costa, Bina (ed.). Children and Violence - Politics of Conflict in South Asia. Cambridge University Press. p. 203. ISBN 9781107117242.
  8. ^ a b Khanna, Renu (2008). "Communal Violence in Gujarat, India: Impact of Sexual Violence and Responsibilities of the Health Care System". Reproductive Health Matters. 16 (31): 142–52. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(08)31357-3. PMID 18513616.
  9. ^ "Apprentice star claims she was sexually assaulted in Pakistan" Archived 2016-02-10 at the Wayback Machine, Express Tribune, 13 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Assaults at the Stockholm festival have never been fully investigated". Dagens Nyheter. 11 January 2016. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016.
    Bilefsky, Dan (11 January 2016). "Swedish Police, Accused of Cover-Up, Look Into Reports of Sex Assault at Festival" Archived 2016-01-11 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times.

    Orange, Richard (11 January 2016). "Police in Sweden accused of hushing up asylum seeker assaults at festival" Archived 2016-02-17 at the Wayback Machine, The Daily Telegraph.

  11. ^ Alona Wartofsky, "Police Investigate Reports of Rapes at Woodstock" Archived 2012-02-19 at the Wayback Machine, The Washington Post, 29 July 1999.
  12. ^ Michael Ellison, "NY police 'ignored' park sex attacks" Archived 2017-02-02 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 17 June 2000.
  13. ^ Kamb, Lewis; Tracy Johnson (10 March 2001). "Many sexual assaults at Mardi Gras". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on 12 March 2001.
    Davila, Florangela; Ostrom, Carol M. (31 March 2002). "Mardi Gras news photo that wasn't published wins prize". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011.

    Ith, Ian; Bartley, Nancy (2 March 2001). "Man Killed at Mardi Gras was trying to help woman". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 9 December 2010.

  14. ^ Water Park’s alleged mass sexual assault under scrutiny, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2017-01-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Dozens Of Men Strip, Finger And Sexually Assault Women In Overcrowded Water Park (Photos)". Archived from the original on 7 May 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  16. ^ "20 Or More Women Were Sexually Assaulted At A Vietnam Water Park And Nobody Seems To Care". Elite Daily. 14 July 2015. Archived from the original on 16 February 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  17. ^ "Men Strip, "Finger" and Molest Bikini-Clad Girls at Water Park after Being Given Free Entry - RedWire Times Singapore - RedWire Times Singapore". RedWire Times Singapore. Archived from the original on 3 May 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Water Park's alleged mass sexual assault under scrutiny". Archived from the original on 21 March 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.