What do we do when we are thirsty or hungry? Something like that is first of all an animal drive, a basic instinct. In intimate and friendly situations, it may happen that we open the refrigerator first and then the juice bag while still wearing dress shoes. Eat the cheese straight from the foil. But among the people? We order, even with anger …
What do we do when we are thirsty or hungry? Something like that is first of all an animal drive, a basic instinct. In intimate and friendly situations, it may happen that we open the refrigerator first and then the juice bag while still wearing dress shoes. Eat the cheese straight from the foil. But among the people? We politely order from the waiter, even with a bad growling stomach, wait patiently and dine cautiously with knife and fork. We even adhere to fast food standards – no one just reaches over the counter or grab a slice of pizza from someone else’s plate on the way.
Why not? Because it is socially prohibited. This is how civilization works: people just don’t do the things an instinct tells them to do if their community is massively disrupted by them. There is a threat of isolation, strangers and friends then clearly let him feel: “Stop doing this, it’s disgusting!” Together, we create a consensus: we don’t want to see it, we don’t want it to happen. And it works: who would blow their nose on the bus without a tissue?
Conversely, it means: How women and girls are treated in society depends only on what we all take for granted, because we understand it ourselves by that. Overall, the debate has been going on for years – from the quota of women to “#MeToo” to fair wages. How bad things are on a small scale is shown by some sort of artistic action by pop group Blond in downtown Chemnitz. In connection with their new song “You and I”, the trio set up a “sexual violence hut” there with the association “Wildwasser” and the “Kosmos Chemnitz”. The little wooden house, from the outside as cozy as a prefabricated gazebo, opens up a view of a parallel world that hits you like a punch, a world that hides in everyday life behind common customs and therefore itself. – saying portable. Ubiquitous, but conventionally invisible.
The show is very simple: it consists of around fifty printed report sheets in which women describe their permanent and forced availability for men. Availability for sayings on the bus or at the bar, for whistles on the street, for casual touches on various parts of the body in the office. An availability which is commonly brandished as a “compliment” or a “flirt”: awkward, perhaps or inappropriate – but which wants to be soft and yes, especially in this awkwardness, but cute – the “victim” of the “failed flirt” at most is the poor, because then the guys rejected. And as difficult as it is in courtship displays, you can quickly be sure that it should be allowed in principle! Otherwise, the coarse chain of arguments often escalates so quickly, that humanity should die out if males are no longer females… wink wink!
It is the great art of the “hut”, with an urgent and effective curation of open and credible report texts, to break this pattern and tear up the space behind this clumsy hidden inter-inhumanity: A poisonous assault space, in which, protected by a deep-rooted social acceptance and the accompanying neglect, almost unconsciously planned, of these “first steps”, and subsequent development can ferment. Until rape. The texts – they come from women of Chemnitz and the Erzgebirge and do not let go – only attract with short and exaggerated “uncomfortable experiences” at the departure of foreigners, but quickly end up with “best friends” that emerge from a familiarity situation. wanting more and more little by little and just taking it, imperceptibly in cases of abuse in the partnership or even drastic descriptions of rape, which are hard to bear in their frankness. “One thing leads to another” – romance romance expression as the supposed “natural course” of things, when a look, a flirtation leads to passionate sex at one point, shows a bitter downside here. Simply because the limits do not apply in the dark – because we do not bring them together: in the hut one experiences that this “to each other” in the open space becomes a mighty tumultuous river , which is controlled by man alone and hardly anything the person opposite can object to. “The boys are just socialized in such a way that it’s okay,” says blonde singer Nina Kummer: “And because the first little attacks are supposed to be good, everything that follows is also considered less bad. But it’s bad. ! “
The fact that women and girls often know how to prevent it from “reaching the extreme” is by no means the issue: in the “hut” it becomes clear how much they often succeed far behind their own. limits. Quite simply because they are regularly neglected, ignored or simply invaded by glaring glances, since the standards of men in society have a much higher weight than those of women. For this imbalance, this structural imbalance, you get a very clear, very uncomfortable feeling: how can it be in a free society that calls itself “civilized”?
The problem is permanent access: the man determines what a “flirting situation” is – and often everyone agrees with him. “Women just want to shop, work or live their life,” says blonde drummer Lotta Kummer: “Instead, they constantly have to deal with men imposing so-called affection on them. I thought that ‘they were openings when a Touch the boys without being asked. But now I know it’s only humiliation and the exercise of power. They do it because it makes them feel good to cross borders. Because it works. Because it has no consequences for them. Because the structure of society is so. “
A drastic, widespread and therefore symbolic example of this permanent encroachment is the “Dickpic” – a term in the meantime established. The English “dick” corresponds to the German “Schwanz” as a synonym for penis, and “pic” is an abbreviation of “picture”. To do this, the smartphone’s camera is used to take a photo of its own (erect) cock and send it digitally. “There are a lot of guys who like the idea of a woman opening her cell phone and being shocked when she sees a photo like this without being asked,” says Lotta Kummer: “They don’t want you. know. They just use their position of power to show you something that they know you don’t want to see. Because you can’t defend yourself. We get such pictures as a group, but it also happens to women when they want to sell a closet on Ebay. You’re not doing well. “
What the “hut” makes visible in Chemnitz in particular, blond musicians want to wear as food for thought beyond their city limits. For this purpose, they released the song “You and I” whose video is part of the exhibition. The play picks up on the theme less directly, but clearly in a spiritual way. In the text, the group simply turns around and grabs the hook at the word: “You and me forever / I will never let go / a house, a dog and children / you and me until death”. A reference to the fact that you may have to chew on the “unimportant” handle for a long time. In the video, the grieving women dance through the forest in bloody wedding dresses after locking an executioner in a wooden house and feeding him minced meat.
The clip is overwhelmingly complex that can make synapses glow. “Men, in particular, need to start thinking,” says bassist Johann Bonitz: “You might say to your boyfriend: Dude, you can’t do this. Instead of always apologizing for such behavior. according to the motto: Sorry, he was drunk! And you should ask yourself if you yourself have done something that falls under the category of abuse. Otherwise, nothing will ever budge. “After all, the mechanisms of repression in society work as well as subtle. “Every girl we know has had such experiences,” says Nina Kummer: “But no boy has ever done something like this. It can’t be, something’s wrong there. We therefore urgently need to change our perception! “
“It is always said that you can’t empathize with a situation like this,” Lotta Kummer says, “Like you can’t control your impulses. Like you don’t notice when someone isn’t interested. As if it would be impossible to strike up a normal conversation to get to know each other instead of immediately asking “Do you have a boyfriend”?
The exhibition The “Hut of Sexual Violence” is open every day until August 8 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Düsseldorf in Chemnitz.
Contact points for help against violence or abuse can be reached by telephone on 0800 116 016 or 0800 22 55 530.