WHAT NOBODY TALKS ABOUT
The year 2016 started with assaults on women* in many cities in Germany – also in Cologne. Sexualised violence against women* manifested at new year’s eve – was dragged into public discourse, visible for everybody. Why the sudden media attention? The thematisation is appropriate and important. The survivors of the sexualised infringements at new year’s eve – and those of all sexualised attacks, that happen daily – must receive all the solidarity and support they require. However, the media attention did not primarily focus on calling sexualised violence by name, but on the alleged background and origin of the offenders – and that with blatant racism: The discussion quickly stopped being about sexism, but about tightening asylum laws, national isolation and deportation.
A popular conclusion: Not the sexism in this country is the problem, but the refugees. But: Sexism did not immigrate to Germany, Sexism is homemade.
It is ever present – always and everywhere. Structural sexism is found in different compensation, discrimination of all women*, particularly of trans women and women* of colour, on the job market or in different expectations who does which chores, e.g. child care.
It is also found in sexist advertisement and in workshops of so called „Pick-up Artists“, that teach men*, how they can coerce women* to do things they do not want to. Nobody talks about domestic sexualised violence. 90% of all rape takes place in the direct surroundings of a person. By relatives, acquaintances, and (ex)partners. Nobody talks about the daily sexualisation and the sexual assaults on women* of colour.
WHAT WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT
Instead of gushing over racist debates about perpetrators, we should talk about the function and meaning of sexualised violence and structural sexism – worldwide. The discussion should be about racism and the ongoing violence against refugees, as we still have armed assaults against refugee homes – every day.
The discussion is to be had about wars, which the German state participates in. About their brutal nature, the militarisation outside and inside the borders and finally their peaking continuation in gender constructs. These wars displace people, destroy their basis of existence and force their escape. The inhuman politics of the EU has to take responsibility for these conditions – first of all the German state.
Many women* and children are escaping through life threatening routes hoping to reach a safe(r) place. Here they are exposed to extreme sexualised violence inside refugee shelters. Many women* and children must stay behind and are effectively left for dead by the resolutions of the German government, as for example the Second Asylum Package, forcing them to remain in life threatening war areas or outside the European border. The tightening of the asylum laws, which the government tries to sell as a response to the recent sexualised violence, in fact globally affects women* and children the worst.
Within Germany we have been confronted with reactionary backlash for ages, with the attempt to undo feminist progress. A small sample: Unequal pay, the „stay-at-home parenting credit“ (Herdprämie), protests of so called pro-lifers advocating against abortion, homo- and transphobic agitation against sexual education and anti-discrimination work at schools or last but not least the tacid approval of sexualised violence. Currently, the reaction becomes manifest in public debates that are dominated by racism and anti-feminist positions. Right-wing populists and parties, as well as neonazi groups gaining popularity, are being made presentable and used to push racist politics.
WHAT WE CELEBRATE
We celebrate rebellious women* and women* in struggles, that demonstrate that a liberated future in solidarity is possible. So for example the women* who fight for a revolution in Rojava.
We celebrate all who work in women’s* houses or who support refugees.
We celebrate all the brave women*, lesbians, trans- or inter*identities, who proudly defy a hierarchical gender model.
We celebrate all those who overcame fences and who made the fortress Europe tremble, even if only for a short time – now more than ever!
Let us organise globally, without borders!
We want an anti-authoritarian society free of domination, without exploitation, without marginalization or exclusion, without the sexist and racist normality. We want solidarity and respect with each other.
Long live diversity.
In the context of the international women’s* day, we want to direct our protest as well against sexism and racism. We want to carry it through the streets of Cologne, loud and furiously: Our feminism is anti-racist – especially after the assaults of new year’s eve.
Looking forward to see you at the nationwide protest at March 12th 2016 (2016-03-12) in Cologne!