Violence is a human rights violation

All people everywhere in the world have the right to a life free of violence. Unfortunately, there is still violence everywhere in the world, and also here in Germany.

Women and girls are particularly often affected by acts of violence. A large part of the violence against women and girls is based solely on the fact that they are female or are read as female. This is why we speak of gender-specific violence.

Violence has many ugly faces and every form of violence must be held up to the mirror.

In order for something to change, laws must also be changed. But socio-political rethinking and a will to change are also necessary. Violence is a sign of inequality between women and men. The level of violence can therefore be used as a yardstick for the level of implementation of gender equality.

  • Istanbul Convention

    The Istanbul Convention refers to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence . The abbreviation refers to the place where the Council of Europe meets and where the Convention was adopted.

    Following its signature and ratification, this Convention has now been applicable law in Germany since February 2018. In the hierarchy of legislation, it is equivalent to a federal law. It provides impulses and obligations for all levels of government to actively combat violence against women and girls and to act preventively.

  • Emergency call Genital Mutilation 01803 767346

    6 February is the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation.

    (Not) a problem in Germany? This violence takes place in our society, but is underestimated. Up to 50,000 girls living here are currently at risk of genital mutilation, often abbreviated to FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).

    The practice is prohibited in Germany and is also punishable if the act was not carried out in Germany.

    It is not ignorance on the part of the perpetrators that is at issue here. These acts are deliberately carried out for traditional reasons.

    Countries at risk include some African countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, Yemen and others.

    The girls are often taken to the home country of their parents or one of their parents. But these procedures are also carried out illegally in Germany and other European countries.

    Genital circumcision is a one-time very severe abuse with irreparable consequences for the girl. Often they die as a result of the procedure or are traumatised for life.

    Genital mutilation is a human rights violation and a serious criminal offence.

    Therefore, girls need protection not only from the state but also from society.

    Genital circumcisions on girls are still practised. This is forbidden in Germany and this also applies when it is performed abroad.

    Genital circumcisions are divided into 4 types:

    I Clitoridectomy

    Partial or complete removal of the externally visible part of the clitoris and/or the clitoral hood

    II Excision

    Type 1 with additional removal of the labia minora, sometimes also of the labia majora

    III Inflibulation

    Narrowing of the vaginal opening with formation of a covering closure by removing the labia minora and/or labia majora and then joining them together, with or without removal of the externally visible part of the clitoris.

    IV other

    all other harmful practices on the female genitalia, such as pricking, burning, cauterising.

    This is a topic that needs to be taken out of the taboo zone.

    The book "Desert Flower" tells the story of Waris Dirie. She was a victim of circumcision at the age of five. In the book, she tells her story.
    Today, Waris Dirie fights as a UN special ambassador against the genital mutilation that 6000 girls worldwide have to suffer every day.

    Yuna is a country-level project working on this issue. More information about circumcision and the project can be found here.

    But there is also the "Round Table NRW against Circumcision of Girls" at the state level. There is also much more to read here.

  • Catcalling is not flirting - it is sexual assault

    What is catcalling?

    Catcalling is the verbal sexual harassment in public spaces through sounds such as whistles, supposed compliments or even insults.

    It is a form of everyday sexism. It is intended to confront many people, especially women, on a regular basis in order to bring about a degradation of the person concerned on the basis of their gender.

    Definition of catcalling

    Each is a form of sexual harassment in public space without physical contact.

    The Istanbul Convention - Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence - classifies verbal sexual violence under gender-based violence, as the incidents are predominantly directed against women.

    It defines as gender-based violence any act of a gender-specific nature that leads or may lead to physical, psychological, sexual or economic suffering.

    No criminal offence and no administrative offence

    Catcalling is currently neither a criminal offence nor a misdemeanour.

    A possible criminal liability has not yet been decided.

    The classification of this behaviour is complex.

    There is a need to clarify and delineate the two areas of law in relation to issues of everyday sexism and equal participation in public space.

    At the moment, there are still no empirical studies on a causal connection between catcalling and the violation of sexual self-determination. However, studies show that sexual harassment in public spaces can have a negative impact on feelings of anxiety, depression and the psychological well-being of those affected.

    There is also no agreement on what is perceived as sexual harassment. Various cultural and individual reasons play a role here. Depending on the country, cultural group or milieu, the same verbal comments can be perceived as a compliment or as sexual harassment.

    This makes it clear that the problem cannot be solved by a criminal law classification alone. The so-called social conscience of all people is needed here.

    A look across the borders

    Shows that catcalling is punished in various countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and France.

  • Cyberbullying

    Cyberbullying is a socio-political phenomenon

    Cyberbullying is an experience that increasingly affects women online. And not just since the Corona pandemic, when more time was spent online.

    With 73% of women affected, we can no longer speak of individual cases, but of a socio-political phenomenon.

    And a few numbers

    Amnesty International, 2018

    • In every 15th tweet, a white woman is mentioned abusively.
    • In every 10th tweet, a black woman is mentioned abusively.

    Amnesty International, 2017

    • 55% of women experience stress, anxiety or panic attacks after a violent experience online.
    • 41% of women were afraid for their lives after experiencing violence online.
    • 24% were afraid for the safety of their family.
    • 76% of women have changed their online activities after experiencing violence online.
    • 32% of them have stopped expressing their opinion on the net.

    You can help each other. And if that doesn't help, you can get help from

  • Sexism