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Examine structures: violence and protection against violence

Violence is still a widespread phenomenon and has different faces. This prompted us to devote our first week of the migrant women's march to the topic of violence and protection against violence.

Violence in partnerships and sexualized violence in particular are common forms. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), around one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence in a partner or violence by non-partners in the course of their lives. That's a total of 30 percent - a devastating result. On top of that, it stands out: 

Apart from women, queer people are among the group most affected by violence. Persons who are intersectionally discriminated against because of their multiple identity experience several forms of violence at the same time. Sexism, ableism and racism often occur in combination with deep entanglements of violence. Women with a history of migration or flight also suffer much more from violence because they have fewer opportunities and access to social participation, safe spaces and the education and labor market. Women who have been discriminated against multiple times therefore need special protection from any form of violence.

But what is violence and how do we define it?

DaMigra e. V. looks at violence from an intersectional, feminist and anti-racist perspective. That means we see that violence does not affect everyone equally.

We understand violence against women both as a form of discrimination and as a violation of human rights. Gender-based violence does not have to be physical to be identified as such. Actions, structures and attitudes that (can) lead to physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or economic damage or suffering as well as to social, cultural, religious and political exclusion are also massive forms of violence. It is irrelevant whether it is an act that has been carried out, a threat, coercion, structural barriers or attitudes. Violence is violence - regardless of whether it is carried out at home, in public or in the digital space and by whomever it is carried out. Because it works - and in devastating proportions in all areas of life.

What is protection against violence and what do we need that EVERYONE is protected from violence?

Violence can affect everyone; However, the fact that they experience women and queer people in particular has structural reasons: They belong to the groups that always experience discrimination in patriarchy anyway. Violence against women is rooted, among other things, in historically unequal power relations between men and women. In addition, violence begins with established attitudes and fixed structures, which often legitimize direct violence. Many of those affected often do not know that violence is happening to them and how they behave in a variety of violent situations. As a result, those affected relate shortcomings to themselves and at the same time have to defend their own identities to the outside world.

Rather, protection from violence requires:

· Active elimination of prejudices: Those affected by violence must be able to access counseling services without fear of additional intersectional discrimination. People who experience violence should be taken care of by society and not additionally burdened with refuting prejudices held by counselors.

· Adaptation of institutional structures to the diversity of our society: This includes raising awareness in society as a whole within legal, political and social debates. Specialists not only have to be educated, but also equipped with enough resources accordingly. Particular emphasis should also be placed on training courses on the Istanbul Convention and awareness issues.

· Dismantling patriarchal structures: This starts with the awareness of the existence of patriarchy. Enlightenment and debates within all spheres of society must be heard. And demands should include all aspects of social justice. Anti-racist, anti-trans, anti-homophobic discourses must be conducted.

· Expansion of shelters for those affected by violence: There is a need not only for special protective measures for women affected by violence, but also for safe and stable spaces in which women feel heard, seen and understood. This makes sexualized and/or racist experiences of violence visible in society. This is why broad feminist anti-racist alliances are so enormously important, as they can create the spaces and environments for those affected.

DaMigra e. V. represents the interests of women migrant organizations and their concerns and is committed to equal opportunities, equal participation and equality for women with a migration background and refugee experience in Germany. DaMigra follows the approach of anti-racist feminism.


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