Why did you abuse people

Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

Your body is yours!

In the family it is totally normal to touch each other. A good night kiss from the parents, a joking pat from the mother, a warm hug from the father - all of this is part of a loving relationship with one another. But what if a touch suddenly feels strange or a look from your father is unpleasant? If you feel uncomfortable with a behavior, say no! If someone breaks your boundaries and doesn't respect your no, that's not okay. Here you can find out where sexual abuse starts and how to counteract it sexual violence can fight back and what your rights are.

What actually is sexual violence?

Everyone falls under this sexual actthat at or in front of you against your will happens or that you cannot knowingly agree to - for example because you are weaker, cannot say it correctly, or because you just do not understand what is happening. The perpetrator takes advantage of the fact that she is older and has more power than the victim. Sexual acts are always considered sexual violence in children under 14. Even if the child said they were okay with it.

You're not alone

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one million children and young people in Germany have experienced or are experiencing sexual violence. In a school, statistically speaking, there are one or two affected children per class who suffer from sexual abuse. Both girls and boys are affected.

Sexual violence in the family

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Most of the time, those affected already know the perpetrator from the social environment. In about a quarter of the cases they are from the family - for example father, mother, uncle or brother. Children who experience this are in a particularly dire situation. For one thing, violence is done to them. On the other hand, they also like the perpetrator, because he or she belongs to the family.

Victims of sexual violence are forced to keep silent about the topic

Often times, those affected are through emotional or psychological violence blackmailed into hiding the subject. They do not want to disappoint anyone and suffer from breaking the family relationship when they tell what happened. If they confide in another member of the family, they may not be believed. And they feel ashamed because they think they are to blame for the abuse too. However, it is always the perpetrator who is entirely to blame.

Many perpetrators enjoy having power over a child. They then feel superior and strong to their victim. Some feel sexually attracted to children. The perpetrators themselves urgently need help. But that is no apology - what they are doing is wrong!

Where does sexual violence begin?

Sexual abuse includes physical abuse, physical violence, or rape. But sexual violence is not always physical. If someone tries to talk to you about sex when you don't want to, or if someone intentionally touches your buttocks, genitals, or other parts of your body, it can be sexual abuse. This can happen accidentally - but you can usually tell whether it was on purpose or not. Criminal abuse it is when actions are taking place on your body or when you are supposed to touch someone in a sexual way. Nobody is allowed to show you porn, photograph or film you sexual abuse or rape.

There are various laws that protect the sexual self-determination of children and adolescents:

  • In the case of sexual abuse of children (Section 176 StGB), there is no need for physical contact. For example, it is also forbidden to show children a sex film or the genitals or to satisfy oneself sexually in front of children. If an adult has sex with a child, one speaks of serious sexual abuse (§ 176a StGB).
  • Sexual abuse of adolescents (Section 182 of the Criminal Code) occurs when someone abuses adolescents by exploiting a predicament for the sexual act or by performing or having the sexual act carried out in exchange for payment, i.e. by paying for it. Sexual acts by a person over the age of twenty-one with a young person under the age of sixteen are also punishable if the person takes advantage of the fact that the young person is incapable of sexual self-determination with regard to the person.
  • The law also takes into account persons of trust and authority. They can be teachers, trainers, but also parents. A person is liable to prosecution if he or she engages in sexual acts on a child or adolescent under 16, for whose upbringing or education he is responsible, or if he or she has this act on him. In the case of young people between the ages of 16 and 18, the act is punishable if the dependency relationship between the perpetrator and the victim is abused. Sexual acts with a young person under the age of 18 are also punishable if the young person is your own child or the child of your partner (wife, husband, life partner) with whom you live in a domestic community (Section 174 of the Criminal Code).

When is it sexual abuse? Listen to your feeling

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Sometimes children or young people affected are unsure whether sexual harassment or domestic violence they have experienced counts as sexual violence. No matter what it is: you always have that Right to say no! If your no is not respected, confide in someone. Even if you were paralyzed and did not fight back when you were the victim of violence. get yourself Help - usually your feeling already tells you what is not okay.

Who can you turn to

Sometimes parents or other members of the family cannot or will not believe what happened. This can be particularly painful. Lots Victim of sexual abuse therefore do not dare to talk about their experiences with their parents or family. Even if it is difficult: You are entitled to get help elsewhere. Think about who is away from family enough to believe you. Maybe a tutor at the school, a doctor or parents of friends? If you can't think of anybody or if you are not believed, you can go to one too social advice center or that Youth Welfare Office turn. You can find addresses for social assistance here.

Where can I get help with the process?

You can report sexual abuse and violence to any police station. You don't have to go alone, you can take someone with you to support you. This can be someone from the family or, for example, someone who is referred to you by the social counseling center to accompany you in the process. These so-called psychosocial litigators are familiar with the entire criminal procedure. They will take you to the interrogations and can answer your questions about the procedure. You can also read here how it will continue until the court hearing.

Tell me what happened

With the police, it is particularly important that you explain what happened as precisely as possible, even if it is embarrassing or painful: Who did what, when and where? Don't worry, you won't be laughed at and nobody will blame you either! If you have to cry, that's perfectly fine. Also for Trial in court The psychosocial process support can come with you and support you there so that you always have someone by your side who can take care of you and answer your questions. You can find out more in the brochure “I have rights”, which you can download below.

At your side: The psychosocial process support

With the psychosocial process support, victims of sexual abuse have a woman or a man by their side as a direct contact person for the entire criminal proceedings. The person mostly works at a counseling center or social support organization and is specially trained to support people who, like you, have experienced a crime. She can answer your questions about the topic or the procedure and accompanies you to the interrogations and to the court.

This will also help you when you are confused or afraid. This is completely normal! With your ad you stand for yours Law a - and you may encourage other affected people to fight back.