Global Independent Analytics
Tobias Nase
Tobias Nase

Location: Germany

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy, Ukraine

The Case of Lisa

How the German media distinguishes between victims of sexual abuse according to their nationality

A seven years old child was sexually abused in Germany last weekend. The perpetrator abducted the girl from a playground, abused her, and later set her free by Sunday. Sadly, this could have been prevented if German courts and police worked correctly. Another five years old child was already abused in January by the same perpetrator; this was confirmed by a medical report. However, German authorities didn’t take this case seriously enough and the perpetrator was not detained while awaiting trial. He was free to commit another crime.

Such an incident happened a few weeks ago to the thirteen years old Lisa, a girl of Russian-German descent. The investigations are still ongoing, but it seems that Lisa was sexually abused and eventually abducted. She vanished for thirty hours in mid-January. After her release, Lisa provided a testimony to the police, but she was not taken seriously.

Allegedly, the police ignored her testimony because Lisa described the perpetrators as foreigners. Some say that the German police is trying to cover up criminal cases where refugees are held to be suspect, to avoid inflaming growing tensions in German society. Resentment in Germany against uncontrolled immigration is growing. This may lead to a rise in violence against migrants, according to the police. However, it is more likely that the police once again failed to assess the situation correctly and didn’t take seriously the statement of the young girl.

The incident with the girl sparked outrage in the Russian community and in the German media. Things escalated when her relative spoke a few days later at a demonstration of the extreme right-wing NPD party. While the German media started to discredit the victim and her family, Channel 1 Russia reported about the case in a balanced way. Some opponents of mass migration to Germany tried to use Lisa’s case in their favor. They made up stories where refugees were falsely accused of the abduction and abuse. This triggered the media’s launching of a wide campaign against the case, depicting it as a fabrication.

Following this, hundreds of Russian-Germans started to protest in many German cities, outraged. While the protests were clearly spontaneous and often not well organized, the German media was quick to denounce them as extreme right-wing protests.

Eventually, a Russian-German lawyer from the German left party Die Linke, Alexej Danckwardt, took a brief and defended the family. Later, even the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned the case and expressed his deep distrust in how the German authorities handled it.

According to the latest information by the prosecutor, published on Monday, there is now evidence that Lisa was sexually abused in October 2015 as well. The police were able to obtain video evidence proving this fact. However, it remains unclear what happened during her disappearance on January 2016.

Although the facts are slowly becoming clearer in the muddy waters and it turns out that the abuse story was not made up, the German media continues to misreport the case. It tries to portray it as a story fabricated by “anti-refugee activists.” Many in the German media intentionally neglect to report that the lawyer of the family, as well as the prosecutor, both clearly stated that this case has nothing to do with refugees and the supposed perpetrators of the crimes are of German descent.

The whole case got even further politicized by the left party Die Linke, which now successfully forced the lawyer dealing with the case, Alexej Danckwardt, to retreat from the party’s faction in the city council of Leipzig, where he served. This was justified under a pretext of Danckwardt’s dubious Facebook posts. But it appears that Die Linke too came to believe the media campaign that marginalized the victim’s family and Danckwardt as extreme right-wingers. The family was already stigmatized as alleged “Russian Nazis” and so the media tried to apply the same stigma to Lisa’s lawyer. Furthermore, the campaign involved the denunciation of Danckwardt by using his activities in the Anti-Maidan movement in Germany that opposes the violent coup in Kiev. Danckwardt is now still part of the city council in Leipzig, but he does not belong to any party.

Sadly, these latest cases of sexual abuse show that the German authorities still have a problem dealing correctly with victims of sexual abuse and rape, especially of minors. But, what is even more embarrassing to Germany, is that the German media continues to propagate the image of a “Russian enemy” and spread Russophobia in any way it can.

In the case of the German minor, the press was quick to accept the facts, while it did not do so in the case of the Russian-German minor. This is what distinguishes between the two cases. If the German media doesn’t want to lose its last bit of credibility, it should stop campaigns like this one.

In the recent past German media took a harsh anti-Russian stance. In Germany, the majority of media channels and newspapers are still controlled by Euroatlanticists. Many important editors of Germany’s biggest newspapers are members of the so-called “Atlantik-Brücke” (Atlantic-Bridge), which is an invite-only NGO that focuses on building a good relationship between Germany and the USA. Especially since Russia took a proactive stance in Syria and Ukraine, these editors fear an eventual shift of European societies towards Russia. This would threaten Germany’s financial relations with the USA, especially that of the editors who are members of “Atlantik-Brücke.” This would also  threaten their current privileged position within society.

The hostility against Russians and Russia spread by the media is not shared by a growing number of people in Germany. Therefore, the media is trying to enforce even more anti-Russian resentments amongst the population. Lisa happens to be just another target for these journalists, who generally seek to spread anti-Russian propaganda and dehumanize or mock Russians. Sadly, this time, they are using a minor girl for their purposes. While often crimes by migrants are covered up, due to the ethnicity of the perpetrators, this time, a crime committed against the victim is being misrepresented, due to the ethnicity of the victim.
 

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