Violence against women: Every third person has already experienced violence – numbers, dates, facts

  • How many Women already have force experienced?
  • What are the main causes for violence against women?
  • Where can those affected find advice and Help?
  • What can we do here?

The numbers are frightening. 40 percent of women have experienced physical or sexual violence since they were 16 years old. Many women have experienced violence at the hands of their current or former partner. What can those affected do, where can they find advice and help? Do we need stricter laws? And what is the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women” which is celebrated annually on 25. November takes place?

Violence has many faces

force doesn’t start with punches. It usually starts small. Insults, abuse, harassment or sexual innuendos are the beginning. It takes place in public: at work, on public transport, at school, on the street. And many women experience another form of violence at home, with their own partner. intimidation, control, blows. Often brutal and carried out with extreme violence. Many women do not dare to escape out of shame or fear. Why is that? And what can you do about it?

Noisy unwomen were over in Germany in 2020 148,000 women victims of force in the partnership, 359 women were victims of (attempted) murder and manslaughter by their (ex) partner, 139 women died in the process. That means, every two and a half days a woman dies from violence. Noisy mdr The number of violent crimes has increased by five percent compared to 2019. The majority – 79 percent – of the perpetrators are male. The consequences for the victims are hard to imagine. They range from feelings of guilt and loss of self-esteem to anxiety and depression, not to mention the physical consequences. Although more and more states legal norms against violence against women, around 307 million were not affected by the 2017 Law protected against domestic violence.

In this context one can femicide speak. This refers to the killing of women and girls committed or tolerated by private or public actors because of their gender. Killed for being female. Fatal: Femicide is not a criminal offense in Germany either. So-called Separation Kills are usually punished as manslaughter, thus suggesting that the killing of a woman by her ex-partner is not a base motive. Only in 1997 did the marital rape This law has been in force in Germany since 1965. Until 1997, women’s sexual self-determination ended on the day of marriage. If she was raped by her husband, it was at most coercion or physical harm. With 470 out of 643 votes (with 35 abstentions), this was included as Article 177 in the Criminal Code. Frightening: Among the voices that rejected this reform, there were also several women. (The full voting result is here on pages 106 – 108.)

The Types of Violence

What exactly is violence? According to the BGH, the legal definition the “Physically effective compulsion through the development of force or through other physical influences, the intensity of which is suitable for impairing the free decision or exercise of the will of another” (BGH NJW 1995, 2643). In criminal law, between two types of violence Distinguished: On the one hand, the vis compulsia, also as will-bending or the bending violence through psychological influence, such as coercion. The perpetrator wants to evoke a certain will in the victim. On the other hand, the vis absoluta, i.e. the absolute or overwhelming force. This is caused physically or physically, such as by assault or rape, so the decision-making of the victim prevented. This can be done by imprisonment or anesthesia.

Examples of physical violence include the following:

  • Push
  • kick and punch
  • slaps
  • spit on
  • Hold tight
  • Lock in / lock out
  • Strangle
  • “Happy Slapping” (A relatively new form of violence. This is attacking a person with other accomplices filming or photographing it)

In contrast to physical violence, psychological violence is usually carried out verbally. This includes:

  • threats
  • insults
  • mobbing
  • discrimination
  • stalking

In contrast to physical violence, psychological violence is often difficult for outsiders to recognize and understand to prove. However, physical and psychological violence can coexist and be exercised together. Social or economic violence must also be addressed, such as contact control, isolation, financial control or the refusalto let the other work.

Another form is the sexual violence. In most cases, this is a mixture of physical and psychological violence. This includes all kinds of forced sexual acts. These include, above all, sexual harassment, sexual coercion, sexual abuse and rape. The forced marriage of girls or women as well as the circumcision of girls are also to be mentioned here.

Where can women find advice and help?

In order to counteract violence against women, various measures decided. So exists in Bavaria a “Bavaria against violence” concept to be implemented in three stages. At federal level, the international concept of Agenda 2030, Item 5. It stipulates that, among other things, all forms of discrimination against women and girls should be ended worldwide by 2030. However, it is unclear how this is to be implemented. Furthermore, all forms of violence against women and girls should be abolished and child marriage, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation are eliminated. Due to the lack of an explicit date, a target determination can be read out here.

In Germany there are affected women and 400 women’s shelters as well as over 40 protection or shelter apartments with more than 6000 seats available. There are also around 750 specialist advice centres. As a reminder, in 2020 there were over 148,000 women victims of violence. A helpline has been set up. Under the free phone number 08000 116 016 can women Around the clock contact counselors confidentially and anonymously. But relatives or other people can also use the offer to possibly help women who cannot call themselves. The offer is in 18 foreign languages possible. This help line was established in 2013 by Law furnished. Also one online consultation is possible, if necessary in easy language and also in German sign language.

But is this Help enough? To get help, you must first ask for it. And that can under certain circumstances for the women concerned problem if they are victims of social and/or economic violence and therefore have no access to a telephone or internet. Due to the restriction of social contacts, it is often not possible for them to ask a third party for help. However, there is a way one outsiders, such as the postman, neighbors or passers-by to ask for help inconspicuously. the Canadian Women Foundation has one for that gesture developed with which women can draw attention to the fact that they are victims of violence. To do this, the palm of the hand is held upwards, the thumb is bent inwards and clasped with the other four fingers. If you draw your attention to something with this sign, you have to act carefully without endangering yourself or the victim. Try to get as many as possible information to collect to pass on. These can then be sent to the police or the helpline.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Of the background this day is the story of the three sisters Mirabal. They had met in the Dominican Republic against the dictatorship resisted under Rafael Trujillo. After months of torture, they were killed on November 25, 1960. Since 1981, on the anniversary of her death, attention has been drawn worldwide to violence against women and injustice. In 1999 the United Nations passed a resolution, making November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In addition, during the “16 Days Against Violence Against Women and Girls” between November 25th and December 10th, International Human Rights Day, the campaign “Orange the World” implemented. Various actions take place, for example flags hung up in different cities, online events and also concerts take place.

Also celebrities become more involved in these activities. For example, the entertainer Carolin Kekebus exclaims in an interview with the dpa to do more to end deadly violence against women. Above all, she criticizes the fact that the media hardly use the term “femicide”. In some formats, such as in “True Crime” podcasts, these incidents are sometimes even trivialized.

During the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women are numerous Actions planned. There will also be information stands in many places. The circle of supporters continues to grow, and more and more celebrities such as actors, singers and politicians were or are present, such as Bully Herbig, Sebastian Fitzek and Ursula Karven. Under the Hashtag #breaking silence you can on the side of the helpline the posts of participants look at the action.


It’s actually unimaginable. The bare numbers alone leave you alone shudder. It is shocking that in the 21st century women are still victims of violence so often. A lot has been achieved in the meantime, but there is still a long way to go and the pace of change is too slow. When you consider that it wasn’t until 1977 that women were allowed to work without their husbands’ permission, and that marital rape only became a criminal offense in 1997, against the votes of some still-serving MPs, it’s all happening far too slowly. The judiciary is also called upon to do more and exhaust the full sentence.

Don’t be afraid to seek professional help for support in getting out of the violence. The following contacts are at your disposal:

  • police emergency call under the 110
  • At the Helpline “Violence against women” can you under the Telephone number 08000 116 016 365 days a year at any time anonymous and free advice. With the help of interpreters, advice can be given in many languages.
  • telephone counseling around the clock 0800 111 0111 or 0800 111 0222

The following applies: “Every human being has the right to life and physical integrity. The freedom of the person is inviolable.” (Article 2 of the Basic Law)

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