Mass sexual assault

Mass sexual assault is the collective sexual assault of women in public by groups of unrelated 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. In Arabic, the term "mass sexual assaults" translates as تحرش جماعي (taḥarrush jamāʿī), often incorrectly transliterated in the media[2] as "taharrush gamea" following a German police report into the 2016 New Year's Eve sexual assaults in Germany.[3]:15


After an influx of a million economic migrants and refugees, mass sex attacks involving more than 1,000 men of "Arab or North African appearance" occurred in several cities in Germany, including Cologne, during New Year's celebrations in 2015–2016.[4]


Several cases of mass sexual assault have been reported in India. In July 2012 a teenager 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.[5]


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.[6]


Further information: We Are Sthlm sexual assaults

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.[7]

United States

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.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10]


In July 2015 there were allegations that at least 20 girls 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.[11] Men groped the girls and tore their bikinis from their bodies, and Vietnamese officials blamed the girls for being attacked. Bystanders ignored the girls while they were assaulted, and people cheered and applauded the men who posted photos of themselves assaulting the women on Facebook.[12][13][14][15][16][17]


  1. Barak, Gregg (2003). Violence and nonviolence pathways to understanding. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications. pp. 77–78. ISBN 0-7619-2696-8.
  2. Shams, Alex (21 January 2016). "Neither Taharrush Gamea Nor Sexism Are Arab 'Cultural Practices'", Huffington Post.
  3. "Bericht des Ministeriums für Inneres und Kommunales über die Übergriffe am Hauptbahnhof Köln in der Silvesternacht", Ministerium für Inneres und Kommunales des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, 10 January 2016, pp. 1–15.
  4. "String of New Year's Eve sexual assaults outrages Cologne". Deutsche Welle. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  5. Helen Pidd, "Indian anger over media footage of girl being sexually assaulted", The Guardian, 15 July 2012.
  6. "Apprentice star claims she was sexually assaulted in Pakistan", Express Tribune, 13 January 2016.
  7. "Assaults at the Stockholm festival have never been fully investigated". Dagens Nyheter. 11 January 2016.
    Bilefsky, Dan (11 January 2016). "Swedish Police, Accused of Cover-Up, Look Into Reports of Sex Assault at Festival", The New York Times.
    Orange, Richard (11 January 2016). "Police in Sweden accused of hushing up asylum seeker assaults at festival", The Daily Telegraph.
  8. Alona Wartofsky, "Police Investigate Reports of Rapes at Woodstock", The Washington Post, 29 July 1999.
  9. Michael Ellison, "NY police 'ignored' park sex attacks", The Guardian, 17 June 2000.
  10. 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.
    Ith, Ian; Bartley, Nancy (2 March 2001). "Man Killed at Mardi Gras was trying to help woman". The Seattle Times.
  11. Water Park’s alleged mass sexual assault under scrutiny,
  12. "Dozens Of Men Strip, Finger And Sexually Assault Women In Overcrowded Water Park (Photos)". Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  13. "20 Or More Women Were Sexually Assaulted At A Vietnam Water Park And Nobody Seems To Care". Elite Daily. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  14. "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. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  15. "Girls Molested and Stripped in Overcrowded Water Park". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  16. "Water Park's alleged mass sexual assault under scrutiny". Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  17. "Risking life and limb for a few dollars". Thanh Nien Daily. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
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