German Professor Rejects Student, Citing India's 'Rape Problem'

March 10, 2015

A German professor turned down an Indian man’s request to join her research group, citing India’s “rape problem,” The Independent reported. Annette G. Beck-Sickinger, a professor of biochemistry at Leipzig University, reportedly told the unnamed student via e-mail, “Unfortunately I don’t accept any Indian male students for internships. We hear a lot about the rape problem in India, which I cannot support.” When the student accused the professor of stereotyping, she wrote back, “I fully agree that this is a generalization and may not apply to individuals. However it is unbelievable that Indian society is not able to solve this problem for many years now.”

Beck-Sickinger also reportedly said rejecting Indian students due to the country’s rape statistics was somewhat common among German women professors. HuffPost India reported that Beck-Sickinger confirmed that she had written the e-mails to the student but that her words were “taken out of context.” Screenshots of the e-mail exchange published on Quora reportedly prompted Michael Steiner, Germany’s ambassador to India, to write a letter to the professor saying, in part, “Your oversimplifying and discriminating generalization is an offense to these women and men ardently committed to furthering women['s] empowerment in India.”

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