(Article 1 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany)
It is a sad fact that violations of this basic human right are part of women’s and girls‘ everyday lives.
Rape is one of the most extreme forms of sexual violence. Sexual violence in childhood, sexual assault, harassment, whether on the phone or at the workplace, are further examples of this kind of violence. Only few of these violent acts are committed by complete strangers. Often (ex-)husbands or (ex-)partners, casual aquaintances or good friends, relatives, neighbors, colleagues are the perpetrators.
Every human being has the fundamental right to respect for their physical, emotional and sexual boundaries.
Acts of sexual violence are prohibited by law and, consequently, the criminal code classifies them as a punishable offence (‚Criminal Offence against the Right to Sexual Self-Determination‘ or ‚Straftaten gegen die sexuelle Selbstbestimmung‘).
But even in cases of blatant violation of sexual self-determination and dignity obsolete perceptions and prejudices lead to putting the blame on the women and girls affected – not on the perpetrator. This way they are held accountable for the perpetrator’s crime. These traditional mindsets rooting in former, undemocratic times still persist in the 21st century and stick in people’s mind (whether men, women or children), having tragic consequences for the women and girls violated in their integrity and dignity.