Photo Courtesy of BBC News

Photo Courtesy of BBC News

By Helen Mafinejad, Staff Writer

A 22-year-old Turkish/German woman, Tugce Albayrak, tragically lost her life after she stepped in to defend two young females from a group of men. While this was occurring, the females were screaming for help in a McDonalds bathroom while they were being harassed.

On November 15, in the city of Offenbach, Germany, after the group of men left the restaurant, one of them returned shortly thereafter, to the car’s parking lot and beat Albayrak with a blunt object, which resulted to her death. The 18-year-old male suspect is identified as Sanel M. and is currently in custody. Sanel, who is from the Sandzak region of Serbia, has confessed to German police that he striked Albayrak. The two girls that suffered the harassment, reported to the police over the weekend and had received their statements; they are believed to be between the ages of 13 to 16.

In the camera footage (seen in the video above) you can see a man courageously trying to detain the suspect, but Albayrak took a fatal punch which knocked her unconscious lying motionless on the ground. The student teacher stayed in coma for two weeks before her life support was switched off by her doctor on her 23rd birthday, after her parents gave the doctor permission. They were informed that she had brain damage and would never regain consciousness. A post-mortem examination was expected to be carried out on Monday to determine whether the punch or the impact to her head when she hit the ground was the cause of Albayrak death.

The attack on Albayrak has sparked a lot of emotion among the German people of all ages and backgrounds. They have held candle-lit vigils, holding heart shaped balloons, red roses, and photos of Albayrak. Hundreds and thousands of Germans have signed an online petition demanding that Albayrak be awarded a national medal of honor.

The German President Joachim Gauck confirmed he would consider awarding the medal of honor to Albayrak, and wrote a letter to her family stating: “Like countless citizens, I am shocked and appalled by this terrible act. Tugce has earned gratitude and respect from us all. She will always remain a role model to us, our entire country mourns with you.”

The Torch asked the students of BCC for their opinion on this matter. Patrick Duran stated, “ If I saw anyone getting harassed whether male or female I would interfere and try to minimize the situation. “ There should also be a law passed nationwide that is pertained just for women, that people must obey by to know the consequences and punishment of harassment toward women. Fe Rancis and Tatiana Garcia added, “ I would interfere because I can’t just stand there and see someone get hurt or harassed even if it means losing my life, also Germany should raise more awareness or even run a campaign in her honor for Albayrak’s bravery.