She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “I believe in the flap of a butterfly’s wings: the flap of a single butterfly’s wings in China through a process of build-up can cause a hurricane in Texas” … and: “Some colleagues have long ago given up the fight as lost. I have not”.
She says also:
Ihr Buch: MONIKA GERSTENDÖRFER, ‘Der verlorene Kampf um die Wörter’, Opferfeindliche Sprache bei sexualisierter Gewalt, ein Plädoyer für eine angemessenere Sprachführung, (auf ihrer Homepage). Siehe auch ihr Kontaktformular.
Monika Gerstendörfer – Germany
She works for Lobby für Menschenrechte e.V.
The human rights expert and psychologist Monika Gerstendörfer (47) does invaluable educational work on the dangers of sexual violence in Germany. The co-founder and director of Lobby für Menschenrechte (Lobby for Human Rights Association) has significantly changed attitudes towards violence against women and children.
She has done very useful networking among numerous associations, initiatives, criminal police, journalists, and parliamentarians. Born in Wittenberg, she now lives in Baden- Württemberg.
When she is asked where she gets the strength and energy that she has to muster every day for the fight against sexual violence against women and children, Monika Gerstendörfer says, ‘out of anger’. This anger is familiar to her: as a child she was already stunned at ‘how anyone can simply keep on walking when they are faced with injustices and clear abuse against living creatures’.
Those words do not sound gentle. That is no surprise. For 15 years, this human rights expert has done invaluable work for education and publicity around dangers of sexual violence in Germany. And that is really hard work:
sexual harassment at the workplace, domestic violence, genital mutilation of German babies and toddlers (so-called hermaphrodites, intersexuals), forced prostitution as a modern form of slavery. All these are still taboo subjects. Talking gently, Monika Gerstendörfer has learned, does not get you far.
But then the 47 year old becomes gentle after all: “I believe completely in the flap of a butterfly’s wing”. Smiling she explains this picture: “That is the most beautiful metaphor for the chaos theory. According to it, the flap of a single butterfly’s wings in China can build up to a hurricane in Texas”.
Monika Gerstendörfer proved long ago that she can initiate larger storms. The university-trained psychologist has contributed significantly to changing social attitudes in Germany towards violence against women and children. That rape in marriage is now a criminal offense is especially due to her fight.
Because she is aware that words shape attitudes, she makes a special effort to use language that adequately reflects crimes: a language that does justice to the victims instead of one coined by the offenders: for example, ‘pedocriminal’ not ‘pedophile’ because rape has nothing to do with love (from the Greek philos).
Whoever has seen or heard her once at hearings, in talk shows, speeches, political discussions and actions knows the vehemence and clarity with which she makes her case. With a combination of intellect, commitment and human warmth, she grips her listeners. And with anger always present.
As co-founder and director of the Lobby for Human Rights Association Lobby für Menschenrechte e.V., Monika Gerstendörfer networks with many associations, initiatives and media, but also gives information to individuals: criminal police investigators, journalists, committed members of parliament. The effect of this daily networking activity cannot be overestimated.
This psychologist who studied four languages, art history and law before deciding to focus on psychology, worked in the science center of IBM Germany for six years. The knowledge she acquired there helps her assess the downside of the internet medium. With this knowledge as a weapon, one can take action against child torture on the internet.
After working as the chair for social psychology at the University of Heidelberg, she worked for Irmingard Schewe-Gerigk, a member of the German Parliament, on trafficking of women, forced prostitution, sexual labor and the internet. Further areas of interest addressed were mass rapes in war, residency rights of foreigners, prevention of sexual violence, human rights for sexual workers, discrimination against gays and lesbians, femicide, and sexual torture.
She works in committees and organizations, including the European Council, European Women’s Lobby, European Observatory on Violence against Women, the non-governmental organization (NGO) preparatory group for the fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Violence Committee of the state of Baden-Württemberg, Terre des Femmes, German Academics Association, and the Forum for Human Rights.
She gives speeches and interviews, leads workshops, writes articles, press releases and letters of protest. She does political lobbying work as an expert witness at European Union, state and federal levels, advises media, and appears in talk shows.
Monika Gerstendörfer also looks for unusual ways to carry out her fight against violence and for a better world. Thus the song ‘Kinder sind tabu’ (children are taboo) of the popular German pop group PUR springs from her initiative.
In addition, she works very specifically with affected women providing counseling, crisis intervention and psychological consultation, and helps in the search for young women who are missing. As this account shows, Monika Gerstendörfer’s involvement is far greater than what an individual person can possibly achieve. And that is just a part of her work, work that is mostly done on a volunteer basis, which she fundraises for, and which is seldom adequately appreciated.
It is a job that demands a high personal price. Even experienced ‘psycho-pros’ are threatened with burnout by this kind of intensive occupation with sexual torture and trauma. To counteract this danger, this woman born in Wittenberg, now living in Baden-Württemberg belongs to a writers’ association and writes fairy tales, fables, poems and stories. (1000PeaceWomen).
Lies: Interview mit Monika Gerstendörfer, Vor Monika fürchtete sich sogar ein Lehrer. (full text).
Lies: FEMINISMUS UND TRANSGENDER – EIN WIDERSPRUCH? (Der) „blaue käfer“, Berlin.
Sie sagt: “Bei allen Begriffen, die rassistische und sexistische Inhalte transportieren. Dies gilt auch für den allgemeinen Umgangston, den ich ebenfalls zur Sprachführung zähle. Bekanntlich macht der Ton die Musik… Ebenfalls würde ich stereotype Szenen vermeiden. Wenn ich einen Satz lese wie „Papa geht zur Arbeit, Mama bleibt zu Hause“, dann frage ich mich, in welcher Zeit und auf welchem Planeten der Autor lebt? Es reicht eben nicht, eine feine literarische Feder schwingen zu können. Man muss von Autor/innen erwarten dürfen, dass sie politisch und gesellschaftlich bestens informiert sind. Das ist heutzutage einfacher denn je. Newsletter-Abos kommen kostenlos in den elektronischen Briefkasten. Es gibt eine Fülle ausgezeichneter Webseiten, die man regelmäßig besuchen sollte; Mailinglisten, wo man sich austauschen kann u.v.m. Je besser man informiert ist, desto wacher wird man, desto eher fallen Unwörter und sprachliche Entgleisungen auf. Natürlich erfordert das Zeit und Mühen. Aber so viel sollten uns Kinder und Jugendliche schon wert sein. Auch die Initiative „Unwort des Jahres“ von Professor Schlosser kann helfen; sowie die Lektüre von Songtexten der so gefeierten deutschen Skandal-Rapper, die vor Gewalt nur so strotzen. Um es metaphorisch auszudrücken: Ich verlange von Autor/innen, dass sie die Sprache nicht benutzen wie der Landschaftsmaler den mit Farbe getränkten Pinsel. Ich möchte, dass sie hinter die Leinwand schauen”. (Interview mit Librikon/Eine Frage der Kultur).
Der verlorene Kampf um die Wörter.
Autorinnen und Autoren in Baden-Württemberg.
WORKSHOP ON “GOOD” AND “BAD” PRACTICES REGARDING THE IMAGE OF WOMEN IN THE MEDIA;
Harmful to young persons, the truly evil chainsaw massacre;
World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse.