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Domestic abuse fight takes shape online

Jessica Ware · 2 Nov 2012, 12:46

Published: 02 Nov 2012 12:46 GMT+01:00

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“Violence looks like you, it looks like me and it looks like our children,” said 41-year-old Tonya Teichert, whose website www.modernabolitionist.org goes live on November 3, said she wanted to help equip women, and men, to fight gender-based abuse.

With a database of grassroots support networks, refuges and campaign groups across the country, Teichert hopes the site will gather everything those affected might need - all on one web page.

It will also include discussions of issues such as sex trafficking, female circumcision and domestic violence and provide links to groups dedicated to fighting such horrors.

The German Women's Ministry estimates that one in four women in the country experience physical violence from their husband, partner or ex.

Of the 313 women murdered last year, police named the husband, boyfriend or ex-partner as the prime suspect in 154 cases - that's nearly half.

Teichert aims to enable those affected to find help - and those who want to fight against exploitation and abuse, to locate groups where they can contribute.

She came from her native Miami to Frankfurt five years ago, and is now a full time mother to her two pre-school children.

But as a survivor of sexual violence and a former critical care nurse, she said her personal and professional experiences combined to push her to set up the network.

“During my time as a nurse I saw the atrocities people commit to each other both out of love and hate,” she said.

“There are lots of issues that are ignored in Germany and barely even reported in the media. I want it to give women and girls the tools they need to make change, without being overwhelming.”

Teichert said she saw it as part of the global movement fighting the abuse and exploitation of women - a movement which has adopted the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide as a crucial piece of campaigning inspiration.

It sets out in detail the widespread abuse, murder and enslavement of women around the world and is being seen as a rallying cry to action.

To mark the launch of her website Teichert has arranged a screening of an English-language documentary based on the Half the Sky book, at the German Film Institute in Frankfurt - the film's first screening in Germany.

“I was concerned that the institute would not want to touch the event, because of the topics I wanted to cover and because of the film, but they were keen to be involved,” said Teichert.

She said a discussion afterwards would be aimed at firing people up to do “something, anything,” to get involved.

While she is a one-woman team at the moment, mother-of-two Teichert has big plans for the Modern Abolitionist project.

One immediate target is Frankfurt airport, which is where many young women being brought into the country as sex slaves enter Germany. Staff could be trained to try to spot women and girls being trafficked, she said.

“Some US airline staff receive training which helps them identify a woman who could be being brought into the country against her will," she said, calling for German airlines to follow that example.

Story continues below…

But she also hopes the Modern Abolitionist site can offer links to support groups for women suffering the everyday domestic abuse about which no-one wants to talk.

"It's a stigma to endure it, and it's a stigma to come out and say it is happening,” she said. “All too often women face questions like why didn't you leave him? Instead of being offered support.”

Jessica Ware



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Jessica Ware (jessica.ware@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:48 November 2, 2012 by raandy
Exposure of the victim and the batterer are usually kept hidden by both. The web site is a good idea and she should be praised for her efforts.
14:24 November 2, 2012 by ChrisRea
I am a bit confused. It is about domestic abuse or gender-based abuse? Does she suggest that there are no male victims of domestic abuse? Or that there is no violence in gay and, respectively, lesbian couples? While I welcome the initiative, I think Ms. Teichert might need to check her mentality for stereotypes. I hope she does not favour a victim over another based on gender.
15:24 November 2, 2012 by Bulldawg82
@ChrisRea: Very good points. This is a good start, but more specificity would help.
17:53 November 2, 2012 by ModAbo
@raandy thank you!

While I always read the comments, but have never commented myself, I feel the need to do so now as this is a project that is very near and dear to my heart.

@ChrisRea - Thnk you for your words of encouragement, although I do not recall reading anywhere in the article or, in fact, in anything I have done that said women were the only victims. Domestic abuse is a part of gender-based violence and while, statistically speaking, women and children are the victims, that does mean that it can't happen to men. In fact it does, but because of your "stereotypes"it is grossly under reported, if at all. When one speaks of "gender-based violence" it is about being persecuted, denied, enslaved or some other form of oppression based on your gender. Now, that can mean something different to everyone and, depending on where you are, being gay or lesbian or transgendered definitely falls into that category.

I am a woman and I know that women and children are the ones who suffer the greatest forms of violence, but I am not now, OR HAVE I EVER said that these forms of violence do not happen with men or other genders. Perhaps you should get a seat for tomorrow so that you can get your mentality checked??

@Bulldawg82 - that is part of the purpose of having this event. People, especially here in Germany, tend to think that these problems don't really exist, and if they do, it only within the immigrant population - which is false. My purpose is to let people know about the multitude of ways that violence and oppression are perpetuated against those that are considered weak. I hope that clarifies things a bit more for you. If not, you can always check out the website when it is live and get some specificity.
20:42 November 2, 2012 by wxman
Any man who hits or verbally abuses a woman is a piece of crap. If she's truly too much to bear, then leave. No excuses.
21:54 November 2, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ ModAbo

"Domestic abuse is a part of gender-based violence" - OK, so in the case a man is beaten by his wife (domestic violence), we are speaking of a gender-based violence? The man got beaten because he was a man? Not because the woman had more physical power? If a partner in a gay relationship gets beaten (domestic violence again), it is again gender-based violence? He got beaten by a man because he is a man? The same in reverse for a lesbian couple. Do you see the fallacy of your statement?

"female circumcision", "one in four women in the country experience physical violence", "Of the 313 women murdered last year", "I want it to give women and girls", "many young women being brought into the country as sex slaves", "trained to try to spot women and girls", "identify a woman who could be being brought into the country against her will", "links to support groups for women", "All too often women face questions" - all references to (potential) victims take only women into consideration. No reference at all is made to (potential) male victims. Why are you not talking about people instead of women?

Due to circumstances, I am pretty knowledgeable about gender equality, especially in Germany. Take a look at my posts linked to gender-related articles on TheLocal. That is why I get pretty irritated when I see only the male form used in a text (for example a job advertisement). But this goes both ways.

I have no problem if you clearly say that you want to help only the women affected by domestic violence. It would be discriminatory, but hey, at least some of those in need get help. But if you say that you want to help anyone who is a victim of domestic help, I find it not normal to always speak about women and not person (so that to include men).

Unfortunately I cannot take advantage of your kind invitation to your even. Besides already having engagements for tomorrow, I am based in Berlin, not Frankfurt.

If you need help related to gender equality, there is a significant chance I am in a position to help you. All you need is to drop me a PM.
22:32 November 2, 2012 by Englishted
Abuse is wrong ,by whom to whom is not the issue ,therefore i wish this web site success however be careful not to stereotype the perpetrators.
23:41 November 2, 2012 by ModAbo
@ChrisRea - I am sorry, you seem to have mistaken the article that was written for what my actual words are. While we have never had a conversation, I can tell you that the conclusions you are drawing are not based upon direct words from my mouth. I did not write the article, I merely gave an interview.

Actually NO, I do not see the fallacy of my statement. Why would you assume that the woman had more physical power? That plays in to stereotypes. Perhaps he is a man that was brought up that regardless of anything, you never hit a woman. I have seen 7-foot tall basketball players and 300 pound football players who have been battered by women that were less than half their size. A gay man being beaten by another man is domestic violence. Period. The fact that I even have to have this conversation with you shows that you are not as educated in the subject matter as you claim to be. This is further evidenced by the fact that you use the term "female circumcision" when, in fact, it is "female genital MUTILATION" There is no sound medical, religious or any other issue. Actually, there are some questions as to the cultural validity of this practice and, for the most part, those that continue to do so are only doing it because it is a sole source of income for them. Yes, I am a woman and the issues that pertain to women and children are my focus. With that said, however, in any and all presentations that I have given over the last 20+ years about this issue, it has always included that men JUST LIKE WOMEN can fall victim. Aside from that, gender is gender. Men are falling victim to gender-based violence in the form of debt labor and enslavement as well as physical violence and domestic violence. That is a huge issue that no one likes to talk about. That was one of the focuses of my having the site in the first place. To educate those who don't know (and those who think that they do) about the realities of what is happening to all PEOPLE in the world. I am sorry that the fact that I have a vagina and see things from another perspective appears to offend you. That was never my intention. Again, I will say that I gave an interview and provided information, I have no control over how that information was given to you. I think, based on the circumstances, that she did a good job, but hey, who am I except a woman with no regard for anyone else . . . I am sorry, but that is how your statement sounds. I look at how rude and arrogant most peoples comments are on things that are truly horrifying for the people that are going through them and sometimes, it might be best to get ALL of the information before you start making inflammatory statements. Sorry you won't be able to join the event. I do hope that you will drop by the website to pick up some impartial (and, at times, partial) information on the flight of all people who are being forced to live a life of enslavement. Peace!
00:56 November 3, 2012 by pjnt
Best of luck with your efforts Mrs. Teichert.

I see no discriminatory issues here. If a person goes out to save the whales are they discriminating against lemurs in Madagascar? Of course not. Standing up and trying to fix one of the many things wrong in todays world takes guts and kudos to those who try.

Once again, go get them and my thanks for making Germany a better place to live in.
03:57 November 3, 2012 by Canadian Dad
Once again the feminist lobby & domestic violence industry have joined forces with the anti-father, anti-husband socialist man-haters who make up the justice system & run the country. As usual we hear only one side of the story. Why do we never hear about husbands who are abused by their wives? It is a lot more common than the feminist lobbies & Domestic Violence industry would like us to know.

Why are there no shelters for abused fathers to go to with their children or no support programs for abused fathers & husbands? Why is not a single penny spent on support for abused fathers & husbands?

My ex-wife verbally, psychologically, & physically abused me over many years. When I went to a Family Services agency for advice & support, thinking that my confidentiality would be protected, the first thing they did was send a Children's Aid worker to interview my wife.

So much for confidentiality. So not only did my wife know I had spoken to Family Services about the abuse so did her father. This led to my ex-father-in-law verbally harassing & threatening me.

The night the Children's Aid worker visited, my wife threatened to kill me in front of this Children¦#39;s Aid worker. No mention of this was ever made in the worker's report.

As soon as the CA worker was out the door my ex was in court the next day to obtain an order to remove me from my home & to leave the children with her ­ banning me from seeing my children & forcing me to pay all of her living costs while I had to additionally find and pay for another place to live for myself. She, of course, got the order she wanted, and I was given, in the middle of a brutal winter, 4 days to locate & move to new accommodation.

When my lawyer reported & documented the abuse & threats to the judge at one of the unending court sessions during divorce proceedings the judge literally laughed in my face. "Ha. Ha. Ha." he said, "You look like a pretty big guy to me. You still look pretty healthy to me. I don't think she meant it."

At that moment I forever stopped believing that fathers & husbands had any protection or rights whatsoever under the so-called Justice system. I also realised why so few men ever report that they are on the receiving end of spousal abuse - if the abuse from their spouse isn't bad enough, the judges in the so-called justice system will publicly ridicule & humiliate them.

Interestingly, a police officer who was in the courtroom that day said to me after the session ended that had my ex-wife's lawyer provided the same evidence with the parties reversed, he would have been obligated to arrest & incarcerate me immediately.

Until the real & whole truth is told about domestic abuse &

violence & until various levels of government & the people are willing to admit the real & whole truth about domestic abuse & violence, no families will ever be safe from this scourge.
09:24 November 3, 2012 by septiSeverus
@ModAbo #8

Okay, its female genital mutilation and not female circumcision and you have a vagina.

You do not have control over information you provide to reporters. However you do have control over your arrogant response to individuals you deem to be critical, less informed or less educated regarding some issues that matter to you.

Its not about YOU. Its about you making a difference.
12:07 November 3, 2012 by daren giveen
And what about (F --> M) domestic abuses?

And what about (Public money & time --> Ideologic stuff) abuses?
13:09 November 3, 2012 by pjnt
@Canadian Dad.

I am also a stay at home dad from Canada living in Germany. This article is about the work of one woman trying to help women in dire straits.

I completely agree with you on almost all you points. Something should be set up to address female -> male abuse since the system here hugly favours the woman in these cases.

Mrs. Teichert is using her experiences in life to try help others like her avoid the pain, get help and be able to carry over (not trying to put words in anyone's mouth). Perhaps you should start up a program for men in similar situations and face the wrath of women who believe you are discriminating against them by solely addressing the male point of view.

We should support all initiatives into the area of abuse. There is much work to be done and this is a good step in the right direction.
14:53 November 3, 2012 by coatswg
The large, yet intentionally hidden fact in the US is that a full 80% of physical injuries due to domestic abuse is perpetrated by women. I just counseled another man last night who has lacerations to his face by his wife. He is the typical husband who doesn't see his injuries or his wife's violence as the problem and doesn't want to talk about his injuries.Instead, he sees that his wife is miserably bound up in her fears and society's foolish doctrine that a woman's body is totally her own and she can do anything with it that she so desires. This feminist doctrine hypocritically declares that when it comes to her husband's body, the wife has every right to know where and in whom he puts his penis.

So what was the reason the man's wife repeatedly hit him with a sharp object? Without raising his voice or physically abusing her, she lashed out when he told her he won't budge wanting children. Somehow in our feminized society, the only acceptable outcome of a marital disagreement is where the husband submits to his wife's demands. He gets only what she wants him to have. Yet in tears last night, this young husband knows what is good for his wife and he wants the very best for her. The problem is that society supports the misery of women borne out of selfishness, calling it freedom, at the expense of the marriage.

I haven't experienced any of these problems in my marriage of 30 years. So, don't assume I'm a man who walks around looking for reasons why women are mysandrous. What I do see is that there are too many women focused on viewing men as selfish, hateful, violent and all around misogynous, and thus women need to control men. Instead of putting all your resources into controlling men and forcing them to submit to you, why not do the reverse? You demand he submit to you. Why don't you try submitting to him? Or are you better than he is because you are a woman?
17:36 November 3, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
yes, what about around half of all the domestic abuse which originates from women and is very much not only directed against men, but also children?

Unless that is being recognized - of which I see no signs here - this to me is just another feminist extremist ploy to degrade men.
05:46 November 4, 2012 by Gemstar
I'm sorry . But I hate the fact that men are always portrayed as the abuser sans photo....I come from a broken marriage of 14 years with twin 11 year old girls..My ex wife filed false abuse allegations and ruined part of my life. I however in court proved her as the liar..That never meant anything....even though I was found innocent No matter what I did to protect my girls from her violent rages and crazy psychosis.. Children's aid always covered it up .Even with recorded proof and photo proof of abuse! like jabbing fingernails in the knee of a 10 year old child bruising and making it bleed.. Her boyfriends lies and obstruction of the children's aids investigations along with the mothers lies went away as if it never happened.. She thinks she has this god like power and its awful.. Check youtube real life child abuse... The one with the sad song
07:07 November 4, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ ModAbo #8

"you seem to have mistaken the article that was written for what my actual words are" - OK, so you are saying that when talking to Ms. Ware about victims of domestic abuse/violence you were using the words "people" and/or "persons" and not "women" and Ms. Ware incorrectly quoted you? I would be happy to hear that and this is why in my initial post I used the words "might" and "I hope". So? How was it? I am pretty curious about it.

"Why would you assume that the woman had more physical power?" - Sorry, I should have explicitly add "for example". Of course the reason could have been that the respective man would never hit another human being (or animal). There could be many reasons. The point I am trying to make is that if the two involved in domestic violence are of different gender, it does not mean that we are talking about gender-based violence. The basis might be totally different.

"Domestic abuse is a part of gender-based violence ", "A gay man being beaten by another man is domestic violence. " - Connecting your two statements leads to the logical conclusion that the abuse suffered by a gay man within his relationship is gender-based abuse. I hope that at least now you see the fallacy of your first statement.

You say: . I was simply quoting the words in the article (did you miss the quotation marks?). So is it the case that Ms. Ware from TheLocal twisted your words? FYI, I consider that all circumcisions (male or female) to be mutilations, unless they have a specific medical reason.

@ pjnt

"If a person goes out to save the whales are they discriminating against lemurs in Madagascar?" - If you screen the passengers going through the Frankfurt airport and you help only the female victims of the human trafficking, then yes, it is discrimination.
10:49 November 5, 2012 by pjnt

Sorry m8. It is not the same. The government is obligated to stay neutral when offering help. So the airport situation you indicate is of course discrimination. However when someone volunteers their time to try better something specific, they can decide where that effort is placed and are not obligated to expand.
11:45 November 5, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ pjnt

Yes, the situations are not the same, this is exactly my point. So we are not talking about saving whales and lemurs, but humans that happen to be from both genders but subject to the same abuse in the same situation. And the example with the airport is taken directly from the article above. I would also not consider that only the government is bound to undiscriminating behavior. For example, discriminatory treatment from private employers is also not allowed.

Again, just as I stated in my post #6, I have nothing against the initiative, because at least some of the victims will get help.

Small correction on my post #17 - the first sentence of the fourth paragraph should read:

You say: 'you use the term "female circumcision"'.
12:45 November 9, 2012 by loz_adele
@ coatswg

"a woman's body is totally her own and she can do anything with it that she so desires" - well, yes actually, a woman's body is her own

"Somehow in our feminized society, the only acceptable outcome of a marital disagreement is where the husband submits to his wife's demands" - absolute rubbish.

"You demand he submit to you. Why don't you try submitting to him? Or are you better than he is because you are a woman? " - erm, why should anyone have to submit to anyone?
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