German law must protect a woman or person’s right to sexual self‑determination
Gina-Lisa Lohfink, a German model and celebrity, is standing trial in Berlin for alleged false accusation of rape. In 2012, she reported having been raped. The alleged perpetrators took a video of their actions and published it on several porn sites. The alleged perpetrators were found not guilty of rape because under German law, lack of consent is not essential in acts qualifying as rape.
The fact that Ms. Lohfink is facing charges for false accusation is a textbook example of a reversed perpetrator-victim relationship and an act of almost unrivaled cynicism and injustice. It is also important to mention Jörg Kachelmann as a significant enabler of this legal practice. Having been cleared of rape charges “in dubio pro reo” due to difficulties of evidence, he has been leading his campaign against the plaintiff Claudia D. in the form of private damage proceedings since 2012.
The German judicial system is being called into a new era:
Survivors of sexual violence – predominantly women – have come to expect their perpetrators will be found not guilty. Additionally, they are now confronted with the risk and indignity of facing charges of false accusation when reporting rape.
We will not accept this.
The Initiative für Gerechtigkeit bei sexueller Gewalt („initiative for justice in cases of sexual violence“) calls for a rally to show solidarity with Ms. Lohfink and all survivors of sexual violence on the next court day in Berlin Tiergarten, beginning at 9 am on June 27th 2016. The call has spread like wildfire and as of now over 1000 people are committing to joining the protest. We protest against rape culture and the sexist conditions in German society. We denounce the judicial system that treats sexualized violence as petty crime and directs its repercussions against vocal survivors instead of their perpetrators. We condemn the vilification and defamation of those who choose to speak up for their right to self-determination and we refuse to accept the notion that a victim´s revealing clothes or active sexual life are decisive elements in rape prosecutions. This behaviour of our justice system towards victims is deeply unjust because it deprives women of their right to full sexual autonomy, which the law should and must protect.
The judicial system blatantly fails to protect the right to sexual self-determination and does not punish violations of this right. Only 8.4 per cent of all accused rapes lead to a conviction of the suspects (KFN ∙ Kriminologisches Forschungsinstitut Niedersachsen e.V.). We urge a reform of the German Sexual Offences law and new legislation that supports and protects the right to sexual self-determination for every person. We demand the implementation of the 2012 Istanbul Convention with immediate effect, which states:
Consent must be given voluntarily as the result of the person’s free will assessed in the context of the surrounding circumstances.“ (Council of EuropeConvention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence)
Society must also live up to its responsibility when dealing with sexual transgressions.
The video of the reported act was uploaded to a public platform and watched more than a million times by people who knew it was published without the consent of Ms. Lohfink. This is a reflection of the extent to which sexual self-determination and consent are disrespected and ignored. We conclude that for many Germans and non-Germans, sex is still seen as something that men can simply take without consent and it is considered just a woman’s bad fortune if she did not want it at that particular moment.
Perpetrators must be held responsible for their actions instead of finding excuses and reasons for sexual assaults.
We need an understanding of sexuality as a reciprocal and consensual experience. This understanding must prevail as the standard to identify sexual transgressions. And this requires effort from all of us.
Only yes means yes!
Contact person for the demonstration in Berlin:
Contact person for the initiative:
Note to the editor
The Initiative für Gerechtigkeit bei sexueller Gewalt („initiative for justice in cases of sexual violence“) is a German civil society movement that analyses court proceedings and media coverage of court proceedings in cases of sexual violence and campaigns for reforming Germany’s sexual offences law which protects full sexual autonomy without conditions. The initiative will also be protesting at the future dates of the lawsuit Kachelmann versus Claudia D., the next one being 14th of July 2016.