Violence can strike any woman, at any age. It stops at no place in the world and at hardly any position. It can occur in the private sphere or at the workplace - or it can strike women arbitrarily ... simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Violence has many faces. It may show in the language chosen, in comments and remarks, in jokes or in open confrontation. It may occur psychologically in the form of threats or intimidation. Or as physical or sexualized violence. It may show in the form of (multiple) discrimination in the public space or at public institutions. Violence occurs in personal contact, but also increasingly online.
Since 1981, every year on November 25, worldwide initiatives have been calling attention to the observance of human rights with regard to women and girls.
Historically, the date is based on the date of the 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, members of a renowned lower-middle class family and political activists in the Dominican Republic. Therefore, the United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
In her presentation, Tanja Kramper, managing director of the local crime prevention association Kommunale Kriminalprävention Rhein-Neckar e.V., informs you about the most important facts about violence in the region and provide tips on dealing with dangerous situations.
The University of Mannheim wants all members of the university to treat each other with respect and appreciation. Therefore, the Code of Conduct of the University of Mannheim governs interaction and cooperation at the university.
The Code of Conduct of the University of Mannheim defines sexual harassment as follows:
“Sexual harassment is any conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome by the victim and that has the purpose or effect of violating the victim's dignity. This includes for example:
aa) comments of sexual content, in particular offensive remarks, comments or jokes about a person, their body, behavior or private life,
bb) unwelcome display or visible installation of pornographic pictures, regardless of their form (e.g. calendar, screen saver, poster),
cc) gestures or non-verbal comments of a sexual nature,
dd) unwelcome sexual requests and/
ee) unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature,
ff) sexual discrimination, harassment, and violence, in particular by a person of authority taking advantage of a subordinate at the place of work or study.”
Over a longer period of time, individuals or a group of offenders use cell phone or Internet applications to deliberately harm a victim.
There is an asymmetrical balance of power involved as the victim can hardly defend him- or herself against the actions of others. Cyberbullying is independent of time and place and can take place 24 hours a day using smartphones. Unlike classic bullying, cyberbullying takes place with a very high level of publicity. Cyberbullying can occur in various forms.
Victims in the age group between 10 and 15 years are being contacted by adults online on Instagram, TikTok and the like. This way, a basis of trust is established under false pretenses and emotional dependency is purposefully created in order to tempt young people who are not yet media literate to sexualized actions on the Internet. This can be followed by blackmailing and possibly even physical abuse.
In order to be able to react correctly in emergencies, it is important to keep the relevant steps in mind. For protection in the event of an acute threat, call the police at 110. They also offer clear and concise information for victims on various topics and inform you about the most important emergency measures.
Locations such as deserted parking garages, poorly lit streets or parks may well become places of assault and rape. However, people from the social proximity (e.g. relatives, partners, friends, colleagues, etc.) pose a greater threat to women: according to the Gewalt gegen Frauen (Violence against women) study conducted in 2004 by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministeriums für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend), every fourth woman experiences violence in her relationship, i.e. by her partner.
Violence against women in figures:
Some large studies provide scientific evidence with similar results:
In 2014, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) conducted a Europe-wide study on experiences of physical, sexual, and psychological violence against women.
In general, it can be seen that violence against women is widespread in the EU and that Germany ranks in the medium to high range in comparison with other countries. 24% of the women surveyed in Germany stated that they had suffered stalking since the age of 15. 60% of the participants in the survey have experienced at least one form of sexual harassment.
Two representative studies by theFederal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministeriums für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) provide a general insight into the issue of violence against women in Germany (2004) and specifically the life situation and stresses and strains of women with impairments and disabilities in Germany (2011).
Selected results from the 2004 survey:
In 2013, the Lesbian Counselling Centre Berlin and LesMigraS conducted a quantitative and qualitative study on violence against lesbian and bisexual women as well as transgender or transsexual people in Germany, who are particularly likely to be affected by discrimination (only available in German). The results are supported by an analysis of the Federal Antidiscrimination Agency (Antidiskriminierungsstelle) on the experience of discrimination in Germany based on sexual identity (2017) that used both quantitative and qualitative data.
Trans people are particularly often affected by sexual discrimination and violence.
The study Umgang mit sexueller Belästigung am Arbeitsplatz (Dealing with sexual harassment at the workplace) shows that over an individual’s entire working life, approximately one in four to five women and one in twelve to fourteen men experiences sexual harassment in the workplace context.
A first major German study on the period of the lockdown conducted by the Technical University of Munich and published in early June 2020 shows:
In the State of the World's Girls Report 2020 concerning online harassment from Plan International, 14,000 young women and girls from 22 countries were surveyed:
Two studies among young people on unreported cases of cyberbullying and cybergrooming conducted in 2011 by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (Institut für interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung, IKG) Bielefeld on the one hand and as part of the Forsa survey “Cybermobbing - Gewalt unter Jugendlichen“ (Cyberbullying - Violence among Young People) on the other hand revealed different prevalence rates of victim and witness statements. This can be attributed to the fact that the Forsa survey examined the lifetime prevalence of cyberbullying, whereas the IKG study determined a three-month prevalence.
Still, many of those affected by violence do not (yet) use the opportunity to seek help or advice. However, together we can break the silence, address the issue of violence, and draw attention to available offers of assistance.
Please feel free to contact the professional advisors of the University of Mannheim to make a confidential appointment to discuss any concerns you may have in connection with sexual harassment.
The results of a study conducted by the Technical University of Munich conducted in June 2020 show that the available offers of assistance during the coronavirus lockdown were only sparsely used:
The NO STALK app developed and provided by Weisser Ring, a charitable organization for the support of victims of crime and for the prevention of crimes, helps to document incidents of stalking via photo, video, and voice recordings with the smartphone.
The Salus-App-emergency call offers people with and without disabilities the possibility to make emergency calls from their smartphone. It is especially helpful for people who are limited in speech or hearing.
Please note that the Salus-App is only available in German.