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Ich habe überlebt

Human Rights for Women,too

"I survived "

Sexual violence : Ute Neumann, the present DGB-Bezirksjugendsekretärin,( trade union youth secretary) has talked about her disquieting childhood experiences and the long years of reappraisal.

  Claudia Ermel | 26.11.2018

After noticing as a young adult that suicidal thoughts as well as depression were beginning to creep in, Ute Neumann came to an agreement with her flat-sharing community: as soon as she put a cactus in the bathroom, the others should inform her, because then there would be danger. "Fortunately, this scenario never happened," she said during her presentation. Because at that time the young woman had finally found people who were prepared to listene to her and believe her. She already had years of therapy behind her. And at least her self-esteem had been strengthened a little by new friendships.

Rape on her first day at school

In a very haunting lecture the now 36 year-old reported at FAUST e.V. at an event the Violetta e.V. and the Grüne Jugend Hannover had organised on the occasion of the Internationalen Tages gegen Gewalt an Frauen ( International Day against violence towards women) , about her very personal experiences with sexual violence between the ages of 5 and 9 by a 10 year older cousin. She said that even her own family never believed her when she said that the cousin "always did funny things with her". Then on the day of her first day at school the first penetration came. But as soon as Ute had the courage to say something, her parents did not believe her. Ute was the "naughty kid who talks nonsense". For four years, the cousin did what he wanted with the kid. But for the parents, she was just a storyteller who wanted to make herself important. In primary school Ute often beat himself, tortured animals or even injured herself at times. Because the pent-up aggression needed an outlet.

Suicide as a last resort?

When, after years of suppression in 2008, the grown-up young woman started to remember , she fell into a deep depression and hid herself from public view. She did not want to leave the house and planned her suicide. But Ute was already studying at University, moving in an environment that took her seriously. A friend dragged Ute to a victim counselling. The women's emergency call and the Equal Opportunity Officer at the university supported her, the first therapy treatment began.

When Ute finally wanted to press charges with support from therapists and friends, she was stopped because of the statute of limitations and "suspicion of autosuggestion". The fact that the adults have long gone public with their story is their therapy and at the same time their activism for other people affected. Today she says that her family of origin was a perfidious "web of violence" for her. She warns against tabooing sexual violence, and protecting children from it. But also adults who are often helpless due to dependency, family or social constraints. "We are not to blame. You are not to blame, but the perpetrators, "is Ute's message to all concerned. Our society must finally stop playing down the subject of sexual violence. The culprits did not lurk in the park behind a bush. It is not necessarily the eye-catching psychopaths and pedophiles. Ute's cousin is married today and has three children of his own.

Sexual abuse is massive border violation

Ute Schneider of Violetta e.V. also told in her introductory speech about the shame and guilt feelings of the afflicted, of dependency and powerlessness towards a family cohesion, which prescribes ignorance. "And it does exist in all cultures," she explained, citing some statistically recorded numbers. According to studies, the actual cases of abuse are said to exceed the known numbers by a factor of 30, two-thirds of them in the vicinity of the family. Only a small part are anonymous perpetrators. (It is not exclusive, but mostly men). And male victims also need more attention; Advice on this is available e.g. at Anstosß

For girls and women up to 27 years Violetta offers free help and advice. Ute Schneider emphasized that those involved in Violetta e.V. always retained their own decision-making power. Nothing is decided over their heads. She announced that Violetta is launching a campaign to highlight the shortage of adequate support services. As Ute Neumann says: "Our society has a responsibility for those affected." She called for a comprehensive increase in the financing of professional training and educational work from the early childhood and strengthening of children's rights.

"Let's finally get rid of patriarchy!" She shouted to the audience before the crew of a dance performance team conquered the stage celebrating survival.

Welt-in-Hannover.de bedankt sich herzlich für die tolle Unterstützung bei den vielen ehrenamtlichen Helferinnen und Helfern, sowie zahlreichen Organisationen und hofft auf weitere gute Zusammenarbeit.

Schirmherrin des Projekts Welt-in-Hannover.de ist Frau Doris Schröder-Köpf, Landesbeauftragte für Migration und Teilhabe.

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