Right-wing assaults are usually completely unexpected. Many victims feel overwhelmed by the situation as well as in its aftermath and do not know how to react. In this section, we recommend some actions you can take after an assault, explain how an assault may affect your mental health and how you can react in the assault situation itself. We also provide tips for witnesses of acts of right-wing violence and on how you can support victims.
What can I do if I am assaulted?
Try to keep calm and get help. If you are hurt, call an ambulance; state your name and your location on the phone and explain what has happened.
Talk to witnesses of the assault and take their contact details (name, address, mobile phone number); these are needed in the prosecution of the offenders.
We recommend that you write down what happened to you soon after the assault (known as a report from memory). Court proceedings against the offenders usually take place months or even years after the incident, so anything that may aid your memory at a later time is helpful. Only write down the things that you yourself can actually remember. Always bear in mind that the report from memory is a personal document and should only be given to trustworthy persons (lawyers, counselling centres). The following questions may help you write your report:
- Place and date: When and where were you assaulted?
- Sequence of the assault: What happened exactly? How exactly were you assaulted? Were the offenders armed?
- Description of the offenders: Who assaulted you? What did the offenders look like? Did the offenders say anything? Did anything stand out?
- Injuries: What injuries did you sustain?
- Environment: Who else was there? Were there any witnesses? How did bystanders react?
We recommend seeing a doctor soon after the assault and asking them to document your injuries. Request a medical certificate.
Take pictures of your injuries and any material damages.
If the police was not at the scene of the assault, think about whether you want to file a report. If you decide to do so, you can file a report on the assault with the police or the public prosecutor’s office. Ask the police for confirmation that you have filed the report and a file number; the latter allows you to check the status of investigations with the police.
Don’t try to deal with this on your own. Talk to your friends and family about the assault and contact B.U.D.; we will help you take all necessary steps.
What can I do during an assault?
If you are being assaulted, you are probably in a mental state of emergency. Nevertheless, it is important to keep as calm as you can and face the person in front of you with confidence. These are some ways you can react during an assault.
- Try to keep your distance and set boundaries.
- Address the assailants loudly, using short statements: “Leave me alone” or “Stop it.”
- Raise your arms in front of your body with palms open to set a physical boundary.
- If you feel that the situation is extremely threatening, proceed to the nearest public place or building where there are other people.
- Ask specific people for help: “You in the red jacket, I’m being assaulted, call the police.”
What can I do if I witness a right-wing assault?
If you witness a right-wing, racist or anti-Semitic assault, it is important to stay with the victims and to support them. For victims, the fact that no one intervened or offered to help is almost as bad as the assault itself. Here are some simple tips on how you can support victims in situations like these.
- Address the victim and ask if they need your help.
- Calmly yet firmly tell the offenders to leave the victim alone.
- Ask other bystanders to intervene as well.
- Call the police under the freephone number 110. State your name and location and explain what has happened.
- Make yourself available as a witness after the assault; this may be of extreme importance in the prosecution of the offenders.
How I might feel after an assault
A right-wing assault is a drastic experience for victims and can have wide-ranging consequences for your physical and mental health.
You may find yourself replaying the incident constantly in your mind, being afraid to leave your home or avoiding certain places and situations that are related to what you have experienced. You may suffer nightmares and insomnia, even if you have never had these kind of problems before. You may even find that your personality has changed and that other people irritate you or that you are more withdrawn. Possibly you feel you no longer know yourself; you may even blame yourself for what has happened. Experiencing a right-wing assault can throw you severely off course and sustainably undermine your trust in your fellow human beings and society. It is important that you do not try to deal with your fear and your feelings on your own: talk to your family and friends and tell them how you feel.
The physical symptoms are a completely normal reaction to a violent incident and often fade over time. However, if your health does not improve, or even worsens, and you still don’t feel better after several weeks have gone by, please seek professional help.
Contact us at +49 151 21653187 or via our online counselling services. We can talk to you about your experience, counsel you on your health and help you find a suitable therapeutic offer, if required.
What is right-wing violence?
Right-wing violence manifests in many different ways. An incident doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical assault carried out by organised neo-Nazis to be classified as right-wing violence; online threats may also be classified as violent with right-wing motives.