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02. March 2021 - News

German Elections 2021: Feminist Responses to Sexualised Violence

Press Release: Cologne, March 2, 2021. On International Women's Day on March 8, medica mondiale is calling on German politicians to use the forthcoming parliamentary election to put women's rights on the agenda and introduce targeted short-term measures to combat the violence against women which is escalating worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to put a definitive end to sexualised violence, existing international agreements need to be implemented, and the causes and consequences of the violence need to be researched and countered. One of the first steps could be carrying out the study recently put forward by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs on violence within partnerships.

“In order to counter the rising levels of violence occurring during the Covid-19 pandemic, we need comprehensive measures now which protect women and girls from violence and provide assistance to those affected,” says Monika Hauser, Executive Board Member of medica mondiale. “To deal with the crisis in a gender-equitable way, the committees dealing with the crisis need gender-balanced staffing. And women's rights organisations across the world need flexible financial support.”

The pandemic is revealing long-term deficiencies in the way we deal with sexualised violence

“The Covid-19 pandemic has made gender injustice across the world even more visible. In order to put a definitive end to sexualised violence, existing international agreements finally need to be implemented, and the causes and consequences of the violence need to be recognised and countered”, says Ms Hauser.

“In order to stem the violence against women in Germany systematically, the future German government needs to develop an overall strategy to implement the Istanbul Convention. This requires its own coordination and monitoring body,” continues Ms Hauser. “Germany needs to quickly implement its Third National Action Plan ‘Women, Peace and Security’ and anchor the appopriate measures within its foreign policy, including the provision of the staffing and financial resources required for this. Furthermore, there needs to be a strengthening of the judicial prosecution of sexualised and gender-based violence via the International Criminal Court as well as prosecuting authorities in Germany.”

Making gender-based violence visible as what it is

“Prevention concepts and political measures against sexualised and gender-based of violence can only succeed if the causes of the violence are looked at and dealt with in a targeted way. For example, data should be collected regularly on sexualised violence and evaluated to reveal the true extent of gender-based violence,” insists Ms Hauser.

“The study announced recently be the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs is an important first step, but assurance needs to be given that it will actually consider the varying situations of the various individual groups, such as refugee women and trans-women. Additionally, the expertise of scientists in gender research needs to be included in all phases of the study, especially during its design,” say Ms Hauser.

“Traditional or stereotypical gender roles and rape myths are fertile ground for sexualised violence against women. Society and institutions need to accept this as a problem and deal with it in a targeted manner,” she continues, adding: “At a time when there is an increase in anti-feminist and racist positions being taken both at a national and international level, medica mondiale is calling on politicians to stand up for women's rights actively. This appeal is directed at political parties and their representatives in the current election campaigns, as well as the future German government.”

Monika Hauser, founder of medica mondiale and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize is available for interviews and quotes.

Further background information 

  • The Policy Paper “Feminist Responses to Sexualised Violence” for the parliamentary elections can be found here (short version)