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"There is a woman in the block at the bottom gegrabscht" | TIME ONLINE

Even in football it comes to sexual assault. In recent years, some of these acts have attracted attention. The Network Against Sexism and Sexual Violence has published a booklet that helps sufferers and football institutions deal appropriately with the issue. We talked to Helen Breit, one of the initiators.

TIME ONLINE: Mrs Breit, do you have specific examples of sexual violence from the football context?

Helen Breit: A folder or folder inspects a person and becomes sexually assaulted by grabbing the person's stride. In the block a woman is grabbed by the butt. This is not immediately categorized in the football context as sexualised violence. We have in Soccer still a climate in which sexual assault is sometimes trivialized. Not intended, but this climate prevails. That's why we use the term sexualized violence by the way.

TIME ONLINE: Unlike sexual violence.

Wide: Exactly. Sexual violence is often understood as forced sexual intercourse or attempted sexual intercourse. That would be a rape. But it's also about gossiping, jabbering and permanently suggestive remarks.

TIME ONLINE: How did you come to think that the topic is relevant?

Wide: I have already given several workshops on the topic, on which I have always been told new experiences. I am very active in the Freiburg fan scene. After dealing with the topic even more there, I noticed three incidents last season. They were told to me by people who were affected or observed and were also sure that they could talk to me. That cases are reported depends on whether a contact person is on site. Since we talk about it in Freiburg, cases are also reported. I would not say that they did not happen before.

TIME ONLINE: Which groups of people may be affected by sexual violence in the stadium?

Wide: Fans, of course. But I also know reports from fan projects, that especially their employees always come back into situations that are very unpleasant for them. Without direct reports, I know that something like this can also happen in the seating area or in the VIP area. Or in clubs among employees. This is one of the key points on the subject: even if you do not know about incidents, it can still happen. Not because it's football, but because it can happen anywhere, including soccer.


Helen Breit has studied social work and is a research assistant at the Freiburg University of Education. In addition, she is involved in the Supporters Crew Freiburg e.V., an interest group of active football fans, in the nationwide fan organization Our curve and in the network against sexism and sexual violence.

TIME ONLINE: Are there groups that are more affected by sexual violence than others?

Wide: In terms of how vulnerable they are, women from my experience are most likely to be affected. Also inter and trans persons. But it is important to us not to lose sight of men. They, too, can be affected by sexual violence.

TIME ONLINE: Are there groups that repeatedly attract attention through sexual violence?

Wide: Let's put it this way: There are some fan scenes, which attract attention time and again, that they draw, for whatever reason, from provocation, perhaps from actual rejection, a male image and openly reject women. This creates a certain climate in the fan scenes and in the club. If I tolerate sexist banners, as a club sexist advertising, vehemently maintain a culture of masculinity, which has the consequence that women are given little space. Nevertheless, that is very short. I would never attribute to a fan scene or group that it automatically has more sexualized abuses because it does not permanently position itself against sexism. That would not help. On the other hand, I would say that actively dealing with it is part of prevention.

TIME ONLINE: Why do you also discuss sexism in addition to sexual violence?

Wide: Sexism in the stadiums is for me a favoring factor for sexualized violence. In a stadium, displaying women in a sexualized manner for promotional purposes or on banners and stickers in fan scenes conveys the message that it is okay to perceive women as a sexual object, as a means to an end, as a promoter of sales. This can lead to a reduction of the inhibition threshold to exercise sexualized violence. At the same time, sexism in clubs and fan scenes can discourage those affected to address discrimination and assaults.

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