Sexual harassment is said to have increased at Freie Universität Berlin. The student committee is looking for the alleged perpetrator with an email – but advises against calling the police. But the concern is less about the potential victims.

The General Student Committee (AStA) at Freie Universität Berlin (FU) has issued a circular e-mail calling for the police not to be alerted in the event of sexual harassment. As the “Berliner Morgenpost” and the “Berliner Zeitung” report, a man is said to have repeatedly sexually molested young female students on the university grounds. The man was even described in the letter from the AStA with a photo and name.

“However, we would like to point out that police operations for people affected by racism are generally associated with an increased risk of experiencing police violence,” wrote the AStA to university groups and student council initiatives.

In addition, the officials are “not sufficiently trained in dealing with exceptional psychological situations”. Police operations are “escalated by the unnecessary use of force,” say the committee members.

In this case, the students’ concern lay less with the victims than with the alleged perpetrator. This is often in an exceptional situation, the newspaper quotes from the AStA text.

On the campus in Dahlem, the man is said to have appeared again and again for weeks and behaved sexistly and aggressively towards young women. He is also said to have threatened violence. So far, however, nothing is known about specific attacks. The FU confirmed to the “Berliner Morgenpost” that there were such cases on its premises. However, they did not want to comment on whether the suspect is also the man from the circular mail.

The student committee suggested contacting the university security service or the social psychiatric service instead of the police. The Berlin police were shocked: “Advising victims of sexual violence not to file a criminal complaint can have lengthy consequences for the psyche of the person concerned,” says spokeswoman Beate Ostertag of the Morgenpost. “The feeling of powerlessness and helplessness that arises from experiencing the crime can solidify.”