The lifeguard can’t keep an eye on everything

The lifeguard can't keep an eye on everything

Saale newspaper: mr. Ankenbrand, two men were recently convicted of sexually molesting children in the sinnflut in 2011. How often does something like this happen?
Jurgen ankenbrand: this year we haven’t had a single incident, but generally it happens once or twice a year. Sometimes we have over 1000 visitors a day, so you can’t keep your eyes everywhere.

Especially during the vacation season, the sinnflut is very busy. Do parents need to worry about their children being sexually abused?
I think not. Our staff is trained to recognize such incidents. In addition, a clear distinction must be made between sexual abuse and sexual harassment, which is also precisely defined by law. When an exhibitionist exposes himself in front of children, it must be shocking. But this is not yet the top …

What is the top?
The worst incident that happened here in the bathroom was more than ten years ago. A man sexually abused his stepdaughter in the bathroom. This also had a legal repercussion: the man was jailed for five years.

How do you recognize potential culprits?
One makes one’s own experiences. When someone walks up and down in the swimming pool and observes which woman is next to disappear into the changing room, we become alert. Or when someone positions himself in a deck chair in such a way that he has exactly the direction of view that is attractive to him, for example the stairway to the slide. It is more dangerous when the tater builds trust in the children. Then we can no longer tell who is friend and who is foe.

In one case, the judge found fault with the fact that no woman was in charge of the pool at the time of the crime. He argued that the girls in question might otherwise have told him sooner …
It is certainly more pleasant for girls to go to a woman. But even if there happen to be two men on the supervisory staff, there are still women in the hospitality department, in the cleaning team or at the reception. The children can in principle address anyone who works here. As seldom as such incidents happen here, I think it is excessive to always divide the pool attendants according to the male-female principle.I see no need for action.

Why? Is not every incident one too many?
Yes, for sure. But we are here in the countryside and not in a big city.I would rather start at another place, namely with the prevention.

What kind of measures are there in the flood of senses to prevent such cases??
The german society for bathing holds trainings, also on this topic. I send our staff there regularly. Then it is necessary to understand that the shift leader is always a professional pool attendant. They have had three years of training in which they are already sensitized to the subject. Also the control of the changing rooms belongs to it.

Why is that??
We once had a boy who used to drill holes in the locker rooms. We spent over a month filling in the holes before we finally caught him.

Are there any women among the perpetrators??
I have been working in the job since 35. I may have come across one or two cases where women were involved as perpetrators. In my experience, the emphasis is already on men. I think that there are more and more people with padophilic tendencies. But you have to be careful not to make a general suspicion against all manners.

When it actually comes to sexual abuse in the bathroom, how do you react??
The first tribute always belongs to the victim. You get down on the level of the child – so i squat down next to the child and comfort it. When I, as a man, have a girl in front of me, I naturally call a colleague to join me. Only then comes the culprit.

In our internet survey, a slight majority said that it was the parents’ responsibility to inform the bathroom of any incidents that occurred. How do you see it?
First of all: the way to the bomber is always the right one! I understand the concern of the parents who would like to keep their child out of it. But if the kids don’t open their mouths until they get home, the culprit is long gone. This was also the case in one of the incidents that has now been heard in court. It was just a coincidence that the culprit was caught after the fact. It doesn’t have to come to that, if it is already taught to the children at home.

What advice do you give to parents?
My concern is that the children dare to approach us. Only when we are made aware of this can we act. In cases where sexual harassment is involved, we invariably call the police. The report must then but the parents, because mostly we are not eyewitnesses.

Sexual molestation of children is often still taboo. What do you do about it?
Other campaigners – for example, in large cities – are running real campaigns. For the future, i could imagine that we would put up posters with the faces of the contact persons in the bathroom in our school, so that the children would simply become more courageous and know who they can confide in.

The questions were asked by ulrike muller.