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Following the incident in Cologne, Germany where over 100 women and girls claimed they were sexually abused and robbed by gangs of men of “Arabic and North African appearance” in major cities on New Year's Eve, public concerns have been raised on how refugees and immigrants are educated for life in their new countries.

 

In Regina, where more than 100 refugees were recently settled, no problems have been reported.

 

A 2015 publication by City of Regina says the immigration rate in the city has grown over the years since 2003 with approximately two per cent annual increases.

 

Getachew Woldeyesus, manager at the Regina Open Door Society said, “We have a curriculum that is developed by Citizenship and Immigration, it includes everything from human right to culture to Canada as a county, Canadian people. So we do a lot of orientation for refugees when they come into Canada”

 

“I don’t believe there is a difference in people’s culture that will be hard to reconcile, the role of children might be different and elders but its not so significant that people cannot adjust to,” he said.

 

While Woldeyesus cannot totally guarantee immigrants do not commit crimes, he said the incidence of crime is very low. “Mostly, they are here to work and to make sure their family is safe and in a good environment,” said Woldeyesus.

 

“Rape is not a problem of settling refugees or settling immigrants, rape is a problem because we are in a patriarchal world and it happens all the time,” said Gill Arnott, executive director of the University of Regina Women's Centre.

 

Arnott said that women’s bodies are always on the line when there is a war or a clash of cultures. “People have been resistant in a lot of countries to opening borders, so this is the easy way to say, ‘Those people don’t know how to treat women’ but this happens all over the world all the time, so it has nothing to do with refugees or immigrants,” she said.

 

Arnott rejects the accusation that the men committed sexual assaults because they were Muslim. “There is no religion and culture that says rape is okay. That’s garbage! From culture to culture, this is consistent that its okay to target women. This is not about Islam, Christian men rape women too, (so) this has nothing to do with Islam," she said.

 

"We live in a culture that teaches women to be afraid but we shouldn’t be teaching women to be afraid or being careful not to get raped...We should be focusing on teaching people not to rape women, training young men to make right decisions, empowering young men to know what is right and wrong and to chose who they are going to be in that moment. Women can take all the whole defence courses, that doesn’t matter.

 

And until we target men that violating people’s bodies isn’t okay, we will continue to have this, no matter what we teach women about not getting raped,” she said.