The Hunger Strike of Norbert Denef Concerns All Political Parties

June 11, 2012

With the occurrence of the scandals about sexualized violence in the year 2012, much has been discussed, but so far, little has happened. Instead of addressing seriously the problem of sexualized violence in Germany, the parties have issued programs, which were supposed to impede sexualized violence in the public space, but do not tackle its causes. Sexualized violence still happens in secret.

In reverse, netzwerkB (networkB) has championed for the abolition of the statute of limitations in order to ensure a continued debate about its causes. As the experiences of violence are so dramatic regarding sexualized violence, the affected victims never find true, inner peace. Therefore, it represents a deeply incisive injustice when the victims, in the course of their lives, finally are ready to file suit, and evidence is available yet they may not file suit. The state establishes legal peace solely on behalf of the perpetrators. Also an extension of the statute of limitations does not stop this injustice.

Because of these facts, we at networkB cannot join the compromise to extend the statute of limitations in order to then keep silent. We see abolition as the only correct step. None of the political parties wants to take this step because, allegedly, we must bygones let be bygones. networkB sees this differently: of course, we must face the past because the past, and especially in the case of sexualized violence, determines our actions. Without the consistent processing of our past, we have few chances to change society in a sustained manner and to liberate it from sexual violence.

The point is not to punish people, but to stand up for the right path in society and thus to produce financial compensation at least in civil law between victim and perpetrator, although psychologically it is not possible. Furthermore, we also want to achieve that the past always remains the moment of reflection for our present actions. Through the abolition of the statute of limitations, we acknowledge that the dramatic childhood experiences affect us permanently and that we have to face up to that.

The form of passive resistance, which Norbert Denef has now chosen, has little to do with blackmail. We don't want to convince other than by rationale. But how can we convince if a serious discourse is blocked by the interests of political parties? The fears to execute such a profound but necessary reform of German law are deeply rooted. In addition, the law systematists strive more for an allegedly perfect law system than for justice. A hunger strike is thus a consciously chosen form of taking a pause that challenges others to pause too. Maybe in this way, a further discourse develops, which draws more people on the side of justice. Even if there is allegedly no majority at this moment for the abolition of the statute of limitations, we still request all to support this just cause in spite of resistance.


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