A Munich-based institute for the prevention of sexual abuse runs the “Safe Wiesn for girls and women” initiative each year – setting up a help point for women at the Munich Oktoberfest, taking in women who have had too much to drink, are lost, or have been the victim of assault.
Christine Rudolf-Jilg from the institute told The Local that so far, 91 women had been treated at the centre – already a 40 percent increase on the total number of women that arrived in 2011. “We think that five of these girls had their drinks spiked,” she added.
The woman offer help ranging from a new pair of tights and a cup of tea, to calling the police and reporting rape or simply lending a kind ear. Last Saturday, the tent was so full that staff could not take in any more cases, the Süddeutsche Zeitung said earlier this week.
One of the most common reasons for women coming to the safe tent was when “they are a little drunk and lose their friends, or their bag with money and a train ticket in it so they can’t get home,” said Rudolf-Jilg.
But she added that staff had taken in women who had been harassed at the festival. Specifically women who “suffered sexual abuse during their childhood” had turned up, traumatized, after being grabbed.
Three of these women had suffered more serious sexual abuse and one had been attacked by her partner.
Rudolf-Jilg stressed the importance of women’s safety at the Oktoberfest, and said that “it is important to improve it, because every year girls and women are raped or harassed and we just want all women to have safe fun.”
Indeed, a woman was raped behind one of the tents during the first weekend. “One rape is one too many,” said Rudolf-Jig, who added that in 2011, not one instance of rape was reported. The woman was cared for at the safety tent.
By Tuesday, police had filed accounts of six instances of sexual abuse.