I’m angry. I’m so damn angry I’m lost for words in the face of the injustice taking place in Berlin right now. I don’t know if you heard the story, but Gina Lisa, a German it-girl – who allegedly became victim of rape – faced a long trial. The legal procedures unfolded over several years, and now the court has ruled that the victim made false statements and decided to slap a fee on her. This is bad enough, but it gets worse… The ‘alleged rape’ was caught on video, and it is still accessible on all the usual sites. To me it is all crystal clear. In the short video you hear Gina Lisa say ‘stop it’, and then once more, a bit clearer: ‘stop it!’ The boys don’t seem to care. They just continue. ‘Shut your trap’, you hear one of them say. And then the guys proceed to silence the model in other ways. It is true that Miss Lohfink does not have the best of reputations. But how much room for interpretation does the phrase ‘stop it’ leave? She says it twice in the short 30 second clip. ‘Stop it’ means exactly that. She wants the boys to stop. No means no. A bad reputation does not change that, neither does provocative clothing or stories about attendance at porn fairs. No woman is fair game. Did we learn anything at all about the right to self-determined sexuality?Sad but true:
Only 8% of reported cases lead to a conviction in Germany. 8 percent! For every 100 raped women 8 rapists are convicted, and rather leniently at that. Dear prosecutors, are you guys kidding me?? Often enough the woman ends up being portrayed as a liar, as we see in Gina Lisa’s case as well. How can anyone in their right mind not see how she tries to turn her head away, and how does it not count that she says ‘stop it’ while one of the guys tries to push his penis between her teeth? Nothing about this scene looks consensual. Gina Lisa appears to be beside herself, one way or another. She appears somehow numbed, but definitely not ok with the situation. But it seems the (female!) state prosecutor has a different perspective on it all. I’ll swallow down my sarcastic remark at this point. I really cannot get it into my head how the clearly audible ‘stop it’ and the fact this humiliating video exists can be insufficient evidence for a conviction? How can it be that the victim has to prove that she is in fact a victim? What happens in cases where the victim was knocked out by KO-drops or somehow incapacitated or unable to defend herself for other reasons? This changes nothing about the fact that she is raped! And in cases where the victim fights back, where’s the line between self-defense and assault in the eyes of the prosecutor, if the fact of rape is not even acknowledged in the first place? Ok, can’t hold my sarcasm in any more. Our judicial system gives the accused the benefit of doubt, in cases of rape as in any other case. But where is the doubt when the crime is documented on video and when the victim has reported the rape herself? If in cases like these the accused go free, I have no more trust in our legal system. Rape is an incredibly sensitive topic. We should never forget that many women never even report being raped for fear of humiliation and for fear of more violence from the perpetrator. If women now also have to be scared of being punished by the system, the number of unreported cases will increase exponentially. But hey, we can do this!
No means no! The problem is in the law itself: rape is only accepted as such when there is clear physical evidence, like signs that the victim fought back or bruises hinting at assault. Women’s rights activists have been fighting for years for stricter laws specifying that an explicit no is a sufficient indication that a women refuses the sexual act. Unbelievably, there is a lot of headwind, even though there is some hope that the EU will pass a new, modernized bill. People: this is 2016! This is Germany!! The real question is: why do just and modern laws not exist yet? Why is it necessary, like in medieval times, to fight back with teeth and claws to show that you mean ‘no’? Why is it not enough to say it? Angela Doe, Julia Schramm and many others have raised awareness for this issue. Women everywhere keep the issue on the agenda. And still, it falls on deaf ears all too often. Just like a ‘no’, uttered by a rape victim. If the laws are not tightened, this country remains a paradise for rapists. Without change, criminal action against women – like the acts reported in Cologne – will continue to go unpunished. Without change, women will keep blaming themselves for being raped. Without change, none of us is safe. Not your girlfriend, not your wife, not your daughter. Without change, rapists will be able to boast about their deeds to their mates, and proudly tell them how that girl was playing hard-to-get first, but how she started to like it, and how he showed her who’s boss. Gina Lisa, I wish you all the strength and courage you’ll need to get through the time ahead! Don’t give in! We’re more than puppets, all of us! #nomeansno