Giving weight to the voices of those affected

Giving weight to the voices of those affected

The social battle against abuse has not yet been won, in the view of Johannes-Wilhelm Rorig, the federal government commissioner responsible for the ie. Stoked and then disappointed expectations are demoralizing, he said.

Combating sexual abuse must be understood by federal and state policymakers as a high-priority national task, Rorig said Tuesday at an online conference. Unfortunately, this has not yet found its way into all democratic parties, as is currently documented in many election programs and drafts. "I hope that there will also be a positive change in awareness in politics at this point in the future."

Selected letters evaluated

The commissioner spoke at a meeting to mark the conclusion of a research project that evaluated 229 letters and e-mails sent to Rorig's predecessor Christine Bergmann during her tenure, along with hundreds of others. In 2010 and 2011, the former federal minister was the first abuse commissioner of the federal government and had, among other things, the campaign "Speaking helps!" initiated.

For the project, the selected letters were evaluated with the involvement of those affected. The goal was to be able to better describe the groups affected and the contexts of the crimes. Knowledge about the processing of sexualized violence experienced in childhood was also to be expanded. Half of the abuse cases described took place in a family environment, about one third in institutions such as homes or boarding schools.

Experience decisive for overcoming

At the same time, the descriptions showed that memories and effects of the abuse could re-emerge even after years of stability, they said. Experiences with the support system and other forms of help play an important role in coming to terms with the experience.

The project shows how important it is to give weight to voices of those affected, Rorig said. But it also shows how disappointing and demoralizing it is when expectations are stoked and then disappointed.

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