Making the Invisible Visible. the Intersectional Discrimination in Law Governing Sexual Offenses

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Natalie GEHRINGER, University of Augsburg, Germany
Rebecca GULOWSKI, University of Augsburg, Germany
By analyzing the discourses of sexualized discrimination und sexualized violence, we show how the racist, sexist and classist notions of sexuality and violence in the German law lead to a highly moralized way of dealing with such issues and how this maintains female victimization and male offending processes. Prominent cases (e.g. Brock Turner) demonstrate that the US law treats white, male athletes differently than PoC, relating to the degree of penalty. Women instead who suffered sexualized violence are often confronted with a treatment that blames or shames them as doing something wrong by police officers, attorneys or judges. Even this context is already well researched, particularly in the USA (“rape culture”), we expanded our focus by analyzing interviews of male and female offenders and victims of sexualized violence regarding the question of how they legitimate and integrate their own violent actions and experiences in Germany. In these interviews we identified the impact of discursive narratives (e.g. victim blaming, hegemonic/toxic masculinity) in order to understand the pretended invisible forces which structure the pretended blind jurisprudence and jurisdiction. For example, in 1997, the German law included sexual violence within marriage with the term “marital rape” as statutory offence. Also gendered agents e.g. “male offender” and “female victim” were replaced by gender-neutral ones. Before this reformation, male victims of sexual assaults and victims of marital rape did not exist in law and thus, these persons were made invisible and even their existence were questioned. The same applies in the attempt to understand the complexity of cases of domestic and family violence, which often remained invisible as a private affair.