Sexual assaults are part of the everyday life of many women and people read as female. 2 out of 3 women are victims of sexual harassment. It is often said that women are not allowed to wear such short clothes or move in such a sexy way. Or she is not allowed to drink alcohol in order to remain in control of her senses.
The truth is, nothing protects a person from sexual assault better than non-aggressive behavior. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. So here are a few tips on how to protect and support yourself and others when they are confronted with sexual violence.
Sexual assaults can take place anywhere in society and in a wide variety of contexts – not just at night on the street against people read by women. Every third woman in Germany is affected by sexual and/or physical violence. Sexual assault is common and much more subtle than some people might think. Sexual assault includes both sexual harassment and sexual violence.
Sexual harassment starts with the whistle. It can be physical - unintentional touching - or verbal. It can take the form of inappropriate letters, calls, messages, or gifts. This includes stalking, chasing, staring, harassing, and whistling. Assaults also include: sexually explicit remarks, sexist gestures, and sexual and physical assaults. In the worst case, coercion and rape follow.
But beware: Only intervene in such a situation if it is safe – for the person involved, for you and for everyone else in the area. If you are not sure, get together with other passers-by. And call the police. (Be careful here too that the person who is abusive does not hear the phone call if it endangers other people involved.)
It can also be helpful if you memorize the characteristics of the perpetrator. What clothes, hair color? Tattoo or beard? In this way, the intrusive person can perhaps be found afterwards and - should the person concerned file a complaint and criminal complaint - also be punished for his or her actions.
These are tips that sound like you could do something about it yourself as a victim of sexual assault. It's not like this. But: If you are traveling alone, you have to be able to help yourself.
It all depends on the situation here. A few general tips: Avoid contact with drunk people and people under the influence of intoxicants. If you are traveling alone, you also take a risk with your own alcohol consumption. Never leave drinks unattended at parties. If possible, do not go home alone. Talk to other people on the phone. Share location with friends.
When there is harassment and assault: yell loudly, bite, tear yourself away, hit, kick. Self-defense and resistance can prevent or mitigate the attack. Always draw attention to yourself.
Always dial 110 in an emergency.
Are you experiencing sexual violence? You can find help here:
The Sexual Abuse Help Portal is the central federal portal for offers of help for people who suffered sexual violence in their childhood or youth and their relatives. The offer is aimed primarily at adults. But children and young people can also find information here that is tailored to their needs.
The "Violence against Women" help line was launched in March 2013 and is the first 24-hour counseling service in Germany, which offers confidential and free help and support on 08000 116 016 and via online counseling - 365 days a year, around the Clock, anonymous, multilingual and barrier-free.
The sexual abuse helpline is available nationwide, free of charge and anonymously, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on 0800 22 55 530.
The berta helpline is a UBSKM telephone support service for advice on organized sexualized and ritual violence. The counseling specialists can be reached on the free number 0800 30 50 75 0 on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. - anonymously and free of charge.
The way home phone is a service you can call at night if you feel uncomfortable on your way home. You will then be accompanied to your home by a volunteer on the phone. You can reach it anywhere in Germany on 030 12074182 at these times: Sunday - Thursday: 8 p.m. to midnight, Friday