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Insult: Slut and even worse: How women are insulted

Insult: Slut and even worse: How women are insulted

Hate and agitation on the Internet affect many people – but women in the political sphere are particularly affected. This does not go without consequences. About a discussion at the German Catholic Congress.

Irme Stetter-Karp has already been insulted as a “deputy department head in Satan’s bureaucracy” and as a “wicked person who does the devil’s work”. The president of the Central Committee of German Catholics received an email saying: “You belong in prison.” But it gets even worse. When the head of the Catholic lay organization commented on abortion paragraph 218, someone wrote to her: “It would have been better if your mother had never given birth to you”.

Stetter-Karp discussed this topic at the German Catholic Congress in Erfurt at the weekend with climate activist Luisa Neubauer and Green Party politician Katrin Göring-Eckardt. Three women in public space, connected by one experience: unbridled hatred in letters, in the comment columns of the Internet, on the phone, on postcards, at public appearances. All three said in the end: They will carry on, of course – threats and insults cannot stop them. But they will not remain unscathed either.

The “dehumanization of politics”

The harsh tone on the internet is nothing new. Anyone who is at the forefront of the public stage cannot escape it. It is about exposing, disparaging, intimidating, as Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also spoke about at another event at the Catholic Day. “There are simply actors, and this is more the case with women than with men, who are just waiting for something to go wrong,” said the Green politician. The aim is not to point out mistakes, but to unsettle people. Ultimately, politicians should no longer be allowed to show themselves as human beings and should not be seen as human beings either. “That is part of the actors who want to shout hate and incitement, namely the dehumanization of politics, and we should do exactly the opposite,” said Baerbock.

Organisations such as the non-profit association “HateAid” are involved. Many politicians are also now consistently responding with complaints. Because everyone knows what can happen with verbal incitement. Exactly five years ago, the CDU politician Walter Lübcke was murdered. Recently, thugs beat the SPD politician Matthias Ecke in Dresden so badly that he had to be hospitalised while he was putting up posters.

“After the next election we’ll go to the concentration camp”

All of this is well known. But what women in particular have to listen to in detail is often ignored. The audience in Erfurt’s town hall fell silent and stunned when Göring-Eckardt, Stetter-Karp and Neubauer read out some examples. For example: “After the next election, you’re going to a concentration camp.” That’s what Göring-Eckardt heard. Or: “They should just drill a hole in your head, then at least it could be used as a nesting box.”

Neubauer was not only insulted as an eco-fascist, but also as a “brain-amputated transvestite,” a “climate spastic,” a “lying child molester,” and alternatively as a “filthy communist” or “ugly Hitler face.” One person gave her the following wish: “I hope you experience certain death.” Her mother was sent a seven-kilogram gravestone with her daughter’s name on it.

“It’s horror, honestly”

How do you deal with it? Roughly speaking: don’t read everything, don’t respond, don’t let yourself get down, that’s what the three women on the podium said. “To everyone who was hoping that I would lie in the corner crying and do nothing, I say: you watch me,” said 28-year-old Neubauer. She refuses to see these insults as her own, private problem. It is an unbelievable injustice in civil society. But Neubauer also said: “It’s horrible, to be honest.”

It’s not just about her, but also about her relatives. Her grandmother, for example, told her: “Someone called again, he was really nice at first, but then he started shouting.” Then she, Luisa, had to “train” her grandmother in defensive reflexes that the old lady would otherwise have found rude, for example: “Just hang up.” Stetter-Karp also started this “training”, in this case for her “lovely husband”, who is friendly and helpful on the phone even to strangers. “I think it’s stupid that I have to train him,” said Stetter-Karp.

The ZdK president also sees the hate comments against her in the context of the role of women in her church. For example, when she once launched a campaign to look after children under three, she received thousands of letters, even from France. Apparently the childcare offer got in the way of those who wanted to see mothers at home. Basically, she tries not to let the hate get to her, said Stetter-Karp. But: “If it goes on for weeks, then the situation inside me is a little different.”

“Göring-Eckardt? Yes, I’m often confused with her”

When Stetter-Karp receives hate mail at her private address, she is particularly vigilant for days. Neubauer has personal protection at public events. Göring-Eckardt also has this as Vice President of the German Bundestag. In her private life, the 58-year-old said in Erfurt, she sometimes uses disguises. She meant this seriously. She added jokingly: “But I won’t say which ones.” Sometimes she also says: “Göring-Eckardt? Yes, I’m often confused with her.” In the past, she rarely got spat on. Now it happens almost every week, said the Green politician.

In order not to end the afternoon in Erfurt on a bitter note, Göring-Eckardt then told us something that made her hopeful. At the beginning of May, a crowd of people in Lunow-Stolzenhagen in Brandenburg had besieged her car after an event and prevented her from leaving. After that, she received letters from strangers who promised to escort her and support her: if she is ever in Brandenburg again, “we’ll come with you.”

Neubauer said that 95 percent of her contacts were friendly and nice. One should not concentrate on those who posted death wishes on Facebook in the afternoon. “They hope that at some point we will no longer see anything but this hatred.”

Source: Stern

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