For the past year, a research group has been investigating cases of abuse at the boys' convict in Bad Munstereifel. Now she has presented the first interim report. The extent is greater than previously amed, says project manager Bundschuh.
Interviewer: What results have you reached after one year?
Claudia Bundschuh (Scientific Director Project Collegium Josephinum): We have come to the conclusion that there is a majority of defendants after all. At the beginning of the project, the main focus was on a former employee of the convict who was under suspicion or. have been accused. In the meantime, we are at six professionals who are accused of having committed sexualized violence or sexualized assault. You can read that in the interim report. We also have nine defendants with regard to physical violence, physical abuse and psychological violence.
Interviewer: In what period of time did the acts take place??
Bundschuh: We have feedback so far on the period from the early 1950s to 1994. That is how far the reports of those who participated in the interviews or. have given feedback. With regard to the subject of violence, we can clearly see there was a peak at the end of the 1950s, in the 1960s until well into the 1970s, and so from the mid-1980s onwards we have no more reports of violence in any form at all.
Interviewer: So it goes back a long way. The acts are presumably barred by the statute of limitations. How is it that after such a long time people suddenly come forward?
Bundschuh: One must not forget that people lived in a time when talking about it was absolutely taboo. For the students who were at the boarding school at that time, it was very clear: If they disclosed everything, it would mean further impairment for them. They would be punished rather than positively supported. The educational concept was also different back then. Many parents were in favor of the strict hand and the sanctions, especially the physical punishment. And the topic of "sexualized violence" simply did not exist. Neither by professionals nor by parents, nor by representatives of the church.
Interviewer: That is, everything was hushed up. If everything is processed now, it is also a personal processing for the victims?
Bundschuh: For sure. That's what's important to hear: Someone believes me and I am taken seriously in my suffering. That is certainly a very central experience. Many have lived with the perception that it only happened to them. They thought it was their own fault. If they have changed their behavior, this has always been reflected back to them negatively. Now it is made clear to them that those who did this to them are guilty and responsible. That's an important point in terms of relief.
Interviewer: What, for example, has been reported back to you?
Bundschuh: With regard to sexual violence and sexual assault, erotically tinged touching all over the body was reported back, very long, tight holding, patting everything down with the hands. We also clearly have touching of the sexual organ with the boys, getting under the covers, reaching into the boys' pants, or even leading the boys to their own sexual organ with the attempt to get aroused by it. The physical violence started with slaps and pats on the back of the head and progressed to banging heads together, running kicks or hitting them with objects, wooden sticks for example.
Interviewer: How do you continue with your project now?
Bundschuh: It is very important to us that as many former students as possible hear about this project, so that they have the opportunity to disclose their experiences in the project, if they so wish. The project is one with and for those affected, i.e. what exactly happens, which building blocks we still develop – that depends centrally on what those affected want. For us it is always important: What helps them now?? We can't undo anything that happened in the past. But we experience again and again that it has been a long and stressful time for those affected, which still occupies them today. How do they now get the opportunity to find relief and to be able to process a little bit?.
The interview was conducted by Silvia Ochlast.