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Experts criticize the lack of processing in schools

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Anna (name changed) was 14 years old when her German teacher, 36 years older, took an interest in her. He first took her home, then they watched soccer together. “When she was 15 years old,” says Anna, “that’s when she started physically.”

At first she didn’t have the feeling that she was being abused, the man was an adult and had experienced life, that was fine. That’s what Ana thought. And the son of the divorce “felt comfortable and safe with the man. He was a surrogate father for me.”

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But the surrogate father soon started yelling, upset that sometimes she would rather go to her friends’ tennis lessons than him. He didn’t mind that she had a partner of the same age. At the age of 17, she Anna slowly separated from him, at the age of 18 she made the final break from her.

It was only during psychotherapy that Anna understood the full extent of the events.

Only later did Anna realize what she had experienced. In psychotherapy, she realized the magnitude of the facts. Now Anna, who is now the mother of a child who is not yet of school age, has a great wish: “I want society to be more aware of the issue of abuse and for everyone to realize that abuse can happen in all schools”. .”

Anna told her story on Wednesday in Berlin at an event organized by the “Independent Commission for the Study of Child Sexual Abuse”. Hearing topic: “Child and school sexual abuse” Not looking the other way, dealing with crimes, naming crime scenes, identifying strategies to cover up crimes, seeking solutions to avoid these cases, are the main concerns of the research. commission.

And Anna’s wish coincides with the central objective of the commission: commission member Brigitte Tilmann says: “The review prevents the cover-up from continuing. Only by asking yourself how it is that the actions are not recognized or suppressed can you reduce the risk that there are more actions”.

Sexual abuse in the classroom.

The commission evaluated reports from 160 victims who suffered abuse in public schools. The crime scenes were libraries, school administration offices, medical rooms, but in some cases even classrooms while classes were being held. The perpetrators are mostly teachers, less often principals or other students. In addition to Anna, other affected people also told their stories on Wednesday.

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A change of mentality in schools is urgently needed, says commission member Brigitte Tilmann. Too often, schools care about their good reputation and therefore ignore the actions or are very reluctant to accept them. “As a school, you don’t want to know anything, you usually only worry when you are put under enormous pressure by those affected.”

Tilmann cites the Odenwald School as a negative example. In 2010 he was actively involved in dealing with abuse cases in the reformatory. “There were brilliant brochures showing the school of the future. But they wanted to put the dark past behind them.” But this approach had “fatal consequences for the school.” The school’s reputation was ultimately ruined.

Teacher probably transferred because she reported abuse

At the event, a teacher said that she, new to her school, had noticed sexualized behavior in a non-educational employee and documented it in writing. The school had known about the behavior for years, but without any reaction. She contacted the school administration, but in response she felt intimidated.

Finally, she was transferred to another school because she had disturbed the peace of the school. The employee in question had come to another elementary school, but that was not an admission of guilt. “Brave teachers are not welcomed with open arms in a school,” said the teacher.

According to a study from 2018, a comprehensive protection concept is only implemented in 13 percent of all schools in Germany. Former federal Minister for Family Affairs Christine Bergmann said Wednesday: “The understanding that a school can be the scene of a crime has not yet prevailed in all public schools.”

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