Why do strange men stare at me?

"I touched her breasts, I don't know if she wanted that"

Quite a few women tell of the attacks they have experienced. And six men question their actions.
Quite a few women tell of the attacks they have experienced. And six men question their actions.

It started with hashtags. Under #Metoo or #aufschrei, countless women shared how they were sexually molested in their lives. The silence was broken. Although surveys show that almost every second woman in Germany is a victim of sexual harassment, very few speak about it. But only when a problem is visible can it be solved.

A man drives past me on a bike in Charlottenburg and says: But you're horny for ass fucking.
(Ronja K, 30, Charlottenburg)
I was groped in the X11 bus at the Zoo train station.
(Geraldine, 30, Steglitz)
Smacking in the club, lewd sayings, dick pics, insults when saying no to picking up ...
Masturbation in the subway and at a lake, grabbing between the legs while running, shouting afterwards, making noises.
(Josephin B, 27 Lichtenberg)
A guy asked me for my number. Because I didn't want to give it to him, he followed me home. I then closed the door and let him stand.
At a KIZ concert I was grabbed under my skirt and in my crotch. I was 16.
Winter, overcrowded bus TXL. A man rubs his penis on me.
A man tried to push me into the elevator at night. He ran away after screaming ...
When I was 15, a man in Pankow grabbed my breasts in the summer while I was waiting for the bus.
(Doreen R, Treptow-Köpenick, 29)
During the day I sat in the U1 between Möckernbrücke and Görli and a guy was standing next to me. Suddenly he wanted to kiss me out of nowhere.
(Luisa M, 30, Friedrichshain)
I've been told I just have to be pounded smartly and I'll be into men again.
I was followed from the subway to my home. I just managed to close the door.
On the train, a guy unpacked his member and asked if I wanted to touch him.
(Magdalena B, 25, Treptow)
The taxi driver grabbed my thigh. Since then I've been scared of taking taxis.
A man asked me for the time (3 p.m.) on Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse in Mitte. And got one down in the process ...
(Nicole R. 27, Prenzlauer Berg)
In the subway, a man was masturbating in front of me while holding a briefcase.
(Yvonne B, Steglitz, 49)
Simply touched in the club. Multiple…
(Sarah H, 37, Wilmersdorf)
When I was eleven, a man on Nollendorfplatz in Schöneberg ran endlessly next to me and asked me about sex.
(Nura E, 21, Wilmersdorf)
Knockout drops in the club. Getting told in the street that they want sex with me.
A man sat next to me in the S1 and suddenly pulled out his penis.
(Laura S, 25, Wilmersdorf)
Grabbing, dick picks and sexist comments.
(Jessica K, 28, Lichtenberg)
My skirt was grabbed from behind.
(Lara p. 32 Reinickendorf)
I was harassed on the bus.
Attacked and harassed at night in Mitte - civil courage no longer happened ...
(Angelina J., 24, Prenzlauer Berg)
I walked home in Reinickendorf at noon. A guy came closer and said: Pretty bum.
(Alexandra S, 21, Reinickendorf)
I was around 14 years old when a guy grabbed my buttocks when I was walking up the stairs from the Neukölln underground station ...
(Natalia S, 25, Neukölln)
I was photographed against my will in the U6. When I changed the car, sexualized expressions were called after me.
While waiting for the bus near the U-Bahn station Bülowstraße, the taxi driver said to me “I can touch it”. I was 18 and wore jeans and a sweater.
(Jorina D. 29, Charlottenburg)
Alone in the subway at night - men watched me as if I were fair game.
(Juliane, Prenzlauer Berg)
Once I was surrounded by a group in the Nauener Platz underground station and pushed against the wall by a man in the group, where he rubbed against me. Makes you scared, panics, has a long lasting effect ...
(Hannah F., 36, Wedding)
In a club full of people, a man of the same age grabbed my bum, grinned at me and disappeared into the crowd.
I was 16 or 17 and on the subway a man slid up close and put his hand on my thigh.
(Hannah B, 24, Reinickendorf)
My neighbor invited himself into my apartment, pulled me close and kissed my cheek.
(Natalie Z, 30, Zehlendorf)
A man grabbed my crotch from behind and smelled his hand. That was in Hermannstrasse, near Boddinstr.
(Katharina S, 29, Kreuzberg)
I work in retail in Tempelhof-Schöneberg and asked a customer if he had any further requirements. His answer was: "Yes, but you can't do it here in front of everyone."
(Tabea R, 19, Tempelhof-Schöneberg)

Even if more and more women are telling their stories, little is heard from the perpetrators. For this research, the Tagesspiegel asked not only women to report on their experiences, but also men to reflect on their own behavior. Hundreds of women trusted us with their stories. Finding men who had crossed boundaries themselves and were willing to acknowledge it, meanwhile, seemed almost impossible.

Even so, some men have volunteered to talk about it. Your minutes are not apologies or confession with the prospect of quick forgiveness. And certainly no comparison to the suffering that many women have described. Nevertheless, these descriptions, in which certain behaviors are overcome, are important. So that this problem is a thing of the past.

However, all interviewees in this research have one thing in common: They want something to change. The six men report that they now face more reflective women. It could be a start.

The protocols
You can also jump directly to one of the logs via the table of contents

Offers of help for women

Offers of help for men

Saskia Kühn *, 45

I was on vacation on Sylt with my boyfriend. He wanted to buy new swimming trunks, so we went to a store. A salesman, he was around 50, sent him to the other corner of the shop to go to the swimming trunks. When I was on my way to the locker room to try on a sweater, he said to me: "I'll be happy to come in and help you take off your clothes."

My friend just happened to come back and heard that, he got really angry. He said "I am the only one who helps my girlfriend out of her clothes". It got him really busy. For me the situation was nothing special, it was normal for me.

"You're so drunk, you can't defend yourself."

I was sexually harassed for the first time when I was 15. It was at a birthday party in our village, I had drunk a lot of brandy and cola and was really drunk the first time. So drunk my friends put me on the bed in a room. At some point, I was all alone, I heard a voice in the dark room.

A man stood in front of me and said: “You are so drunk, you cannot defend yourself at all. I can do whatever I want with you now. ”I must have done something to drive him away, nothing more happened. I never told anyone that. And I've never drank so much alcohol that it could happen again.

"I thought you were really tight."

Another situation was three years ago. I had to have my uterus removed and was for a preliminary examination in a Berlin hospital. The doctor, the head of gynecology, who was to operate on me later, was such a greasy guy. When he examined me, he said, "I thought you were really tight." His assistant in the room gave me a look but said nothing. I found that sentence so overbearing and disgusting. I didn't say anything.

A week later, on the way to the operation, I was already thinking about it. I didn't want to be at the mercy of this man under anesthesia. I then calmed myself down with the fact that several people were present during the operation. Still, I felt very uncomfortable. I had several options afterwards, either telling the doctor I didn't think this was okay, or complaining on patient satisfaction sheets, but I never did. That annoys me.

* Name changed by the editor

↑ To the table of contents

Lisa Tix, 18

Last summer, during the day, at rush hour, I was standing in a very crowded Berlin subway. We were all crowded together. Then I noticed that someone was rubbing against my butt. I thought: oh my god what is happening? I turned around and saw a man. He was in his late twenties and looked normal. He had his hands in his jacket pocket. It was level with my bum. I looked him in the eye and turned back again.

Then it started again. It was so disgusting. I had no way of running away on the subway. And nobody else saw it. I didn't dare to say anything. I thought: what if I say “stop cuddling me” and he then says “I'm not doing anything”. Then people look at me strangely. I feel like I'm not allowed to say anything if it's not that bad.

At night I change the side of the street when I see men

These "small" forms of sexual harassment happen all the time. In the clubs it often happens that I am accidentally danced and touched from behind. On the hips, on the buttocks, on the shoulders. Someone with whom I hadn't even had eye contact before has just pulled me close and pressed against me. He pulled me like he could do whatever he wanted to me. I then pushed him away and left. I've never dared to confront anyone properly.

Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pepper sprays into clubs, so I usually have a key in my hand when I walk home alone at night. That gives me at least a little security. It often happens on the street that men whistle or honk at me. I always ignore it, then the quickest way to go is. Whenever I see individual men or groups of men at night, I change the side of the street.

↑ To the table of contents

Sexism, sexual harassment, sexual violence?

What is sexism?

The Federal Ministry for Family, Women, Seniors and Youth writes in a study: "Sexism is a collective term for various forms of abuse and degradation of the opposite sex."

What is sexual harassment?

On the website of the family ministry it says: “Sexual harassment ranges from less serious forms such as stare, suggestive remarks or harassment on the phone or on the internet, to unwanted sexual contact, sexual distress and sexualised physical assault. Depending on the form, context and extent, sexual harassment can be a criminal offense, for example insulting, sexual coercion or stalking. "

So there are many forms of sexual harassment, but only a few are punishable by law. Offensive stare or inappropriate compliments, for example, are socially undesirable, but cannot be displayed. However, a sexist joke against a work colleague can lead to consequences under labor law, for example to a warning - not to mention that it spoils colleagues' day.

The Berlin criminal law attorney Christina Clemm regularly represents women in court who have been affected by sexual violence. She says: “In my opinion, we don't need further criminal offenses, not everything always has to be criminal. Above all else, sexual harassment and sexism must be combated socially. " There are many harassing situations that happen well below a criminal offense. That is why a major rethink is needed among men too, after all, sexism and violence against women are mainly caused by men. “Criminal law is the last resort when something is wrong. Ultimately, however, we need a clear social opinion that implies that we do not tolerate certain behavior. "

What is the difference between sexual harassment and sexual violence?

Clemm clearly differentiates between the two terms: “Sexual harassment is the legal expression. Sexualized violence would be the right expression. ”Because it is not about sex, but about massive humiliation through sexual acts. Therefore, the lawyer explains, this term is used by victim protection organizations and feminists.

Tobias Schuhmacher *, 40

I would like to apologize to all the women I have manipulated and taken advantage of. Unfortunately, I no longer have contact with many of them. I only woke up after the MeToo debate in 2017 and my girlfriend, who is committed to women's rights.

I grew up too sexualized. My older siblings gave me access to porn even before elementary school. I had sex for the first time when I was 15, and got together with a 22-year-old. Shortly afterwards, at a party at my house, a two-year-old friend told a girl to go upstairs with him and me. For a threesome. She did not want. She said no several times. We didn't give up until she came with us.

I didn't accept when she said no

That was wrong of us. It was also wrong that for years I had manipulated women into bed with me. I played someone I am not for them. I told them what they wanted to hear. I did not accept when they said no. Not even after the second time. I put on a dachshund look and kept pushing her to have sex, persuading her. Maybe they felt compelled. When it comes to someone else's body, one shouldn't be pushy. I would like to undo that.

I bragged about my experiences as a woman with my buddies. I told you which women I was in bed with and what exactly I did to them. In my current job, there are some men who keep talking about which women got them laid and other things that I don't want to repeat here. Although women also work for us. They listen away. I can't listen, I usually turn around, mumble that it's sexist and leave.

I would love to punch myself in the face for how I used to treat women. Sexual harassment starts in the head, with the thoughts. Anything beyond that should be punished. In the meantime, I've apologized to the women from back then, with whom I was still able to establish contact. That was very important to me. I realized it sucked.

* Name changed by the editor

↑ To the table of contents

Lilly Ilinca *, 34

It has happened to me three times now that someone unwillingly unpacked his penis in front of me. I didn't say anything against it because I thought that as a woman it could just happen to you. Now I wish I had reported these men.

When it first happened I was still in elementary school. In the second or third grade in Marzahn. I was in the playground. A man drove past me on a bicycle, he really wanted to present himself. I only remember that he was dressed all over the top, but his penis was hanging out at the bottom. I ran away quickly, just as my mother advised me to do in such cases.

The second time I was twelve. I was in the middle of the day in our housing estate in Charlottenburg. There was a man in a coat waiting for someone to approach him. Then he tore off his coat in front of me, pointed to his penis and said: "Do you want to suck?"

"Are you up for a gangbang?"

In the third situation, I was really scared. That was in Wedding in 2013. I was 26 or 27 years old and had a very old and slow dog that had to go out late at night. One evening I had to go for a walk with him shortly after midnight. Two men came towards me, they must have been 19 or 20, and spoke to me. One said: “Are you up for a gangbang? We are known in Wedding for having tails made of steel. ”I remember how paralyzed I was.

All the while I was thinking about what is the best strategy for this situation. Be naughty? Run away Then I said something about “oh come on guys, let’s go.” There was an underground car park across from the sidewalk. One of them said, "Look, let's go in there for a minute." I've died a thousand deaths.I thought, what do I do if they pull me in now? Then someone took out his penis and started jerking off. I didn't want to run home, that would have been very close because I thought they would follow me. I didn't scream either.

I was lucky that a woman was ambushed at a park nearby. Somebody stole her handbag, so it got louder and the police came. So I went in that direction to the police and one of the men who molested me said to the other: "Come on, let go".

I did not report the molesters to the police. I thought, "Shit, but this happens to women, and I can be glad they didn't touch me." I thought that at some point I would get a letter that the ad had been discontinued. Because you can't prove anything anyway.

* Name changed by the editor

↑ To the table of contents

What is punishable, what options do victims have?

What is a criminal offense?

Since the end of 2016, sexual harassment has been a separate criminal offense, Section 184i of the Criminal Code (StGB). It says there: “Anyone who physically touches another person in a sexually specific manner and thereby harasses them will be punished with imprisonment of up to two years or with a fine, unless the act is threatened with a heavier penalty in other provisions of this section. In particularly serious cases, the prison sentence is from three months to five years. A particularly serious case is usually present when the act is committed by several people together. "

Further offenses against “sexual self-determination”, as the umbrella term under criminal law is, can be found in the law in Sections 174 to 184j, StGB. This includes serious cases such as sexual abuse and rape, but also the criminal offenses of exhibitionist acts and causing public nuisance (Sections 183, 183a StGB). The law states: “A man who harasses another person with an exhibitionist act is punished with imprisonment for up to one year or with a fine.” Insults can also have a sexual basis. Then they may fall under the criminal offense of insult in Section 185 of the Criminal Code.

What can affected women do?

Many women shy away from filing a complaint and the subsequent process because it can be stressful. If the person concerned decides to file a complaint, lawyer Christina Clemm advises to go to the police as soon as possible or to file a complaint on the Internet. “It is important that if she is concerned about her safety, she does not give her private address but, for example, that of her employer,” says Clemm. Because the accused has the right to inspect the files. And the address can be found in the file. Every person affected should write down all the details immediately after the situation and, if necessary, secure evidence such as photos, continues Clemm. "The police can possibly find the perpetrator through personal descriptions or video surveillance."

If it then comes to a court case, it is, as is often the case with sexual offenses, testimony against testimony. Then the court checks which statement can be accepted. For example, whether there is a motive for false accusation or perception problems. "In the case of so-called third-party offenders, the chance of conviction is not small if there is sufficient evidence of the establishment of identity," says Clemm.

How could this process be made easier for women?

"We will not be able to completely spare those affected the process," says Clemm. It would be important to finish the procedure faster. “We would need a lot more capacities for this in the investigative authorities and in the judiciary, and better education and training. There is too little knowledge about the extent, perpetrator structures, trauma and other consequences of the crimes. "

Christian Voigt *, 29
works for a PR agency

I was in a bar with friends and had a drink. I was 23, had been single for a while, and was looking for a one-night stand again. That's why I chatted a girl over a drink rather clumsily and flirted with her aggressively. She didn't send me away, but was very shy and insecure. She's never had a one-night stand and it quickly became clear that she didn't want one with me either.

I wanted to satisfy my urges. That's why I tried very hard to persuade her. I said: if you walk around so openly, you have to be ready for sex. I noticed that she felt she had to meet the expectations of men that she accidentally awakened. That's why I manipulated them to do just that. I built up psychological pressure until she didn't say anything against it.

To this day I cannot forget your gaze

In the end we went to her and had sex there, consensually. When I woke up the next morning, I saw her look, which I cannot forget to this day. He was full of shame and disgust. It was so evident that she was disgusted with me and herself for what I had talked her into. We didn't talk about it and I drove home. But I couldn't get the situation out of my head. A few days later I wrote her a message, “Hey, are you okay? Hope you're fine, "or something. Because I felt guilty. She didn't answer.

We deliver numbers where others only think; the truth is never in vain.
Secure independent journalism with Tagesspiegel Plus.
Read even more special content for only € 14.99 a month.
Try now for 30 days for freeThe first 30 days are free

It took me a couple of years to tell anyone. A female friend. Six years have now passed. I'm 29 and I've changed. It is important to me to treat everyone with respect.

He called the women "noble whore" and "next generation hooker"

For me I can keep that, but last week there was another, uncomfortable situation. I met with three buddies. One of them was right in the tinder game. He's been bragging all along about how many women he's having sex with. He is already in his early 30s. He called the women he knows through the dating app and with whom he has sex “noble whore” and “next generation hooker”. He also said that he was trying to have a "perfect week". So to sleep with seven women in seven days. It was so disgusting how pejoratively he talked about women. I'm not really shy, but I still haven't opened my mouth.

We should talk to men about where the red line is and intervene when women are talked about in a degrading way or women are harassed. But first of all, each of us men should start with themselves and reflect on their own behavior.

* Name changed by the editor

↑ To the table of contents

Julia Götte, 25

I was around ten years old when I was first sexually molested. At that time I was still living in a suburb of Stuttgart and buying clothes with my mother. I had already noticed an older man who kept looking at me. He was very tall and slim, around his late thirties. When I was changing my clothes on my own in the locker room and standing there in my underwear, I suddenly saw that he was looking at me over the wall of the next cabin.

I just froze and didn't know what to do. Then I ran out to my mother. She then, together with an employee, put the man outside the door. We haven't really talked about it. But after that I felt uncomfortable in public changing rooms or toilets for many years.

“My lap is empty, so I would like the N** here. "

Another time was a few years ago in the U1 in Kreuzberg. Even before I got on the subway, I was flirted with by a group of young men. I was 18, she maybe in her twenties. I ignored her sayings and listened to music with my headphones. In the full underground, one of them spoke to me directly several times until, annoyed, I took out my headphones and asked what he wanted. Then he said very loudly and clearly: “My lap is empty, so I want the N** here. ”And patted his lap. I was shocked.

I was in Kreuzberg, a place where, as a black woman, I actually feel safe. Nobody on the subway responded. So I turned around and said to the people: “You all noticed that he was using the N-word. You shouldn't pretend you don't hear anything. ”I notice with my white friends that they open their mouths less often when they are harassed. Maybe because they don't face discrimination as often as People of Color.

Daniel Hansen, 30

In my previous circle of friends, when I was 16 or 17, it was normal for dick picks to be sent out. At that time there was no Instagram, it ran through Jappy, Knuddels and SchülerVZ. We were in puberty and wanted sex. My friends chatted with women on these sites and wrote to them relatively quickly that they wanted to sleep with them. Then they sent penis pictures without being asked. It wasn't about showing off one's own penis, but rather about the urge to go to bed with a woman as quickly as possible. Among us boys they boasted about sending dick picks and also said the women were happy about it. I now believe that the women felt harassed. But then I thought it was cool and manly. I wanted to do it too, but I didn't dare.

My teenage friends, some of whom have posted dick picks, will not all of the stories they told back then be true. Because it was always about outdoing each other. Everyone had to defend their own status. We were mostly about five people and someone would start bragging about sex stories. When we were partying and I hit on a girl who turned me down, I would tell my buddies, "I got her laid".

↑ To the table of contents

Asmaa Yousef, 40

While working on the May Day demo, I had to walk past a group of about six men several times. Every time they called something after me. “Hey pretty” or “nice breasts!” I didn't understand everything, but I felt uncomfortable and ashamed. What shocked me was that they did it in the middle of this demonstration, where there were also a lot of police officers. You obviously felt safe. I asked myself straight away if the dress I'm wearing was too short. I was uncomfortable walking past this group.

Until five years ago I lived in Egypt and experienced much worse things there. There I was grabbed in buses, for example, when I was still going to school. I was regularly touched in various situations without being asked.

Strange men stare at my breasts

Here in Germany the situation is completely different. I feel a lot safer. I don't have any pepper spray or a knife with me when I'm out in Wedding late in the evening. Nobody has touched me here in five years without asking. In Germany the laws are clearer and they are enforced.

Still, there is a lot here that should change in this regard. Sexual harassment begins with the fact that strangers stare long at my breasts when I take the U6 or U7. Even when I put a scarf over it. I feel naked and uncomfortable every time. I don't want to be looked at like that. At these looks, one could, in some cases, say that it was an oversight. But verbal harassment at the latest should be the red line.

↑ To the table of contents

Max Deibert, 25

Eight years ago, while I was in the US for a year abroad, I went to a concert with my host brother and some friends. I watched my friends dance to women from behind and later make out with some of them. I had no experience with it and thought that was how it was done. So I went to a pretty girl and danced her from behind. I didn't make eye contact, didn't say hello, didn't ask if it was okay for me to touch her.

I then stood behind her and we danced together like that. At some point I leaned over and kissed her. She didn't fight back. She participated, but I can't say for sure if she wanted to. We made out in this position, I touched her breasts and buttocks, over her clothes. Since it was dark and she had her back to me, I couldn't see any signals that she was okay with it. At the end of the evening we exchanged numbers. Those were the only two sentences I exchanged with her that evening. Afterwards I wrote to her asking if we wanted to meet, but she didn't respond.

I was afraid of a fight

Today I'm sorry and I would act differently. On a number of occasions I have observed situations in which women have been harassed and have not intervened. I used to go to clubs with my ex-girlfriend from time to time. We didn't always hang out, we liked to dance for each other. It happened regularly that she was danced at from behind by some guys and also grabbed at her.

Sometimes I pushed the men away. But when my friend told me that someone touched her butt, I didn't ask who it was. I was afraid of a fight. I couldn't go out to party in a relaxed way because I always wondered if I shouldn't really have to fight with guys like that: Shouldn't I protect my girlfriend? On the other hand, it is also not an object that I want to defend as if it were “mine”. I was okay with going in between with my body. But addressing the issue with the perpetrators is another inhibition threshold. Today I would go to a guy like that and ask what the shit is about.

As a man you have to say: “There is a problem here and we have a responsibility to look for a solution”. Instead of relativizing the problem because we ourselves are not aware of any guilt.

↑ To the table of contents

Benjamin Maack, 42

It's been about seven years now. I had a reading at a literature club in Hamburg. I had drunk quite a bit on stage beforehand. After the reading we stood in a small group and I made a rather indecent joke with a friend. By now I would call him sexist. I can't forget your reaction to this day. She didn't say anything, but she looked at me like she was thinking, “Really now? Didn't think you were such an idiot ”. We continued talking as if nothing had happened, no one else said anything either, the situation was never an issue again.

Four years later, in 2017, there was the MeToo debate in Germany. By then, I knew sexual harassment existed, but I had never really dealt with it. Shortly afterwards there was the hashtag #howIwillchange, under which men reported about their misconduct. I've been thinking for a long time whether I've ever behaved wrongly towards women. The reading occurred to me. I posted the situation on Facebook, of course without naming the person concerned, and wrote a text for "Spiegel Online" about it.

The two women couldn't remember

A second situation also occurred to me. That was about a year before MeToo. We had an editorial conference with about 15 to 20 people. Someone had said something around, whereupon I whispered a stupid, sexist joke to a colleague. I remember it being pretty hearty and totally inappropriate. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. After saying it, I knew it was wrong.

When MeToo reminded me of these two situations again, I decided to contact both women to apologize. I was afraid of their reactions. But I also believe that nothing changes if you don't talk about it. Both women told me that they couldn't remember the situations because they had seen enough other, significantly worse, sexual harassment situations since then.

After my article, I was criticized for writing down a "little thing". But that's exactly what I'm about. When the small changes, the big will no longer be taken for granted. The most important thing about sexism - as with racism - is not to say “I'm not a sexist or a racist”, but to observe yourself again and again and to question your behavior.

↑ To the table of contents

Magdalena Schneider *, 47

Five years ago I was sitting in a café with my partner. It was a Sunday, we were freshly in love and kissed. A few tables away sat a family with children, they were smartly dressed. After a while the man sent a woman over to us. She then told us not to kiss anymore because it wasn't good for her children. We then told her we would keep kissing anyway because it was just too beautiful right now.

At another table next to us was a group of young women who said so quietly that it was already homophobic. They supported us. Then I leaned over to them and said “this is not only homophobic, but also transphobic”. The women's facial features have derailed. They hadn't noticed that I was a trans woman and not a cis woman. When they understood that, they were suddenly silent.

"You should be shot, beaten to death, burned, fucked to death."

This is something that differentiates harassment from trans women and cis women. Cis women can still get help if they are harassed or attacked. It is advisable for them to be where there are other people who could help. That doesn't necessarily apply to us trans women. We experience very little solidarity and more likely to expect further attacks.

A year ago my partner and I got out of the subway at Halleschen Tor and walked down the street. It was just getting dark then. We held hands. That triggered two young men: "You should be shot!" Or "We'll shoot you!" to call. These blatant exclamations and also the real violence are unfortunately not isolated cases. "You should be shot, beaten to death, burned, fucked to death." Something like that is called after us.

I have been tranquil for over 25 years now and have learned to deal with it. Still, it's bad. At certain times I avoid suburbs and subway stations that only have one exit. In addition, I always advise trans women to have a 50 Euro note in their pocket so that they can take a taxi home in tricky situations, although taxi drivers can of course also discriminate.

* Name and age changed by the editor

↑ To the table of contents

Karl Fehrs *, 29

About five years ago, when I was lovesick, I went to a party and flirted with some girls. That was also in the frame. But I got really drunk. Then when I walked away from the party in a group of men, I said things about the women that I now regret. Really primitive and detailed statements about what I would do to them in bed. I never talk like that. Another buddy, also drunk, then said similar things, just not quite as derogatory.

The next day I asked another buddy if I really said that and he said, "Yeah, wasn't cool of you". Then I wrote "Fuck" and he said: "You were drunk, it's okay". I was 24, and that never happened to me again after that. I was tail controlled, I didn't think and let myself go.

He just stared at her

In my previous gym I had to listen to something like that all the time, the classic locker room talk. In the locker room, pumped-up machos talked about women as if they were trophies. Every time I asked myself: can I say something against it? Or is that still a gray area? To be honest, I just didn't dare to criticize several men with broad crosses. They radiate dominance and when I start to say something as a little buffoon, they feel attacked.

I also had to look at a different situation in the gym about a year ago. There was an older man who was always very conspicuously watching the young, pretty women exercising. One day it went so far that a girl had just done an exercise and he just stood in front of her and checked twice from top to bottom. He just stared at her. That made me uncomfortable while watching. I was angry and thought I have to say something. And then I thought: if they know each other, it's embarrassing. In fact, she said something to him as if she knew him, and I was glad I hadn't said anything. But then he went further and did the same with another woman. Stand in front of her and gaze at her.

How do I know if I'm exaggerating? Had he touched her it would have been a different level. It would have been clear to me that I had to do something. When it happened again, I solved it for myself by simply staring at the man so long and so conspicuously that at some point he felt caught and went away. That was the bravest thing I dared.

* Name changed by the editor

What contact points are there for affected women?

LARA crisis and advice center The center offers personal and telephone counseling and crisis intervention for raped and sexually harassed women in Berlin, but also e-mail counseling and short-term therapy, also in groups. There is also legal advice as well as support during the notification and process. The offers are free of charge and, if desired, anonymous.

Website: lara-berlin.de
Telephone: 030 216 88 88

The helpline "violence against women" The nationwide advisory service is aimed at women who have experienced or are still experiencing violence. Affected people of all nationalities, with and without disabilities, are supported on 08000 116 016 and via online advice - 365 days a year, around the clock. Relatives, friends and specialists are also given anonymous advice free of charge.

Website: hilfetelefon.de
Phone: 08000 116 016

Victim Telephone Weisser Ring e. V. The White Ring e. V. offers victims of crime, crime and violence, but also sexual harassment, emotional support, clarifies their rights and refers them to other offers of help. The White Ring victim telephone can be reached daily between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Website: weisser-ring.de
Telephone: 116 006

Advice centers of the Federal Association of Women's Advice Centers and women's emergency calls In the Federal Association of Women’s Advice Centers, around 200 women's emergency calls and advice centers are grouped together. In Germany they provide the main part of outpatient counseling and assistance for female victims of violence. On the website you can find advice centers in your own area.

Website: Frauen- gegen-gewalt.de

Where men can find advice

What contact points are there for affected men?


Tauwetter offers advice for male victims of sexual violence. Consultations take place by phone, letter, email or face-to-face. Men and women advise in the event of a thaw. However, the open initial consultation is always carried out by a man, the telephone service is carried out alternately by all employees working in the consultation.

Website: tauwetter.de
Telephone: 030 693 80 07

What offers of help are there for (potential) perpetrators?

Prevention network "Don't become a perpetrator!"

The prevention network “Don't Become a Perpetrator” offers free treatments throughout Germany, protected by confidentiality, for people who are looking for therapeutic help because they are sexually attracted to children and suffer from it.

Website: kein-taeter-haben.de
Telephone: 030 450 529 450

Sexual Abuse Help Portal

On the pages of the help portal Sexual Abuse there is an overview of counseling centers throughout Germany that work with adult sex offenders. There are also two positions in Berlin. (Status: 2019)

Here is an overview.

What can men and women do when they perceive sexual harassment in their environment?

The “Our Campus” network explains in this article how to become an ally against sexual violence.