Abuse, also a Protestant issue


Because of individual cases: After the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, the Protestants want to be sexual violence against children and adolescents cutting. Affected the insistence on participation.

It is just too beautiful, the tale of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), in which there is no sexual abuse. A perfect world without celibacy, without hierarchy, and without the exclusion of women from ecclesiastical Offices. Again this fairy tale from the pulpit was proclaimed, many of the 21 million members of the Church have believed it.

A Mistake. Unfortunately. Because it is not only in the Catholic Church were abused in Germany for decades, children and young people miss. The scandal had occupied in September of this year, a study by the German bishops ‘ conference. In the Protestant Church similar depths.

Extruded “Individual Cases”

Meanwhile, among Protestants, and individuals, who step out of the Church, a fierce debate about abuse erupted. “The Evangelical Church has always said that we ‘only’ individual cases,” recalls Kerstin Claus. “That annoys me, because it shows how much ignorance in this area prevails.”

Kerstin Claus is a member of the Betroffenenrat for issues of sexual child abuse

Kerstin Claus belongs to the Betroffenenrat of the Independent representative for questions of sexual child abuse by the Federal government. It was the mid-80s as a 14-Year-old for two years from your former pastor and religion teacher in Niederbayern miss.

479 requests processed the victims of the abuse of the EKD. Two-thirds of them come from children in the home. In the case of the Catholic Church the bishops ‘ conference in the period from 1946 to 2014, according to the study, exports were up by 3,677 minors raped or abused. In both churches it is of high dark numbers, because many victims do not have to see your offender probably or no hearing.

To gloss over “nothing”

The EKD-Synod in mid-November in Würzburg therefore decided, for the first time in all of the 20 Protestant churches to scientifically collect reliable data and then create a “Meta-study”. In Parallel, a so-called dark-field study is planned. You should crime to detect, the were not registered.

Former children are demanding apologies and compensation during a Demonstration in Berlin

It is still not clear how many people were in need in the Evangelical Church, miss. Only one thing is for sure: The Catholic triad of repressed sexuality, celibacy and clericalism is not sufficient as an explanation for systematic abuse. In the Protestant Church there is a structural Problem, and specific factors, the sexual Assault and makes beneficiaries abuse.

“There’s nothing to sugarcoat,” admitted Kirsten Fehrs at the Synod, as the denomination of the Protestant Church Parliament. Fehrs is Bishop of the Northern Church, and at the same time, the press Secretary of the “Council for protection from sexual violence,” the EKD. “We have made against people entrusted to us are guilty of. Also, as an Institution,” says Fehrs.

Evangelical Risk Factors

Bishop Kirsten Fehrs, here at the Protestant Kirchentag 2013 in Hamburg, Germany, for the investigation of abuse cases in the North Church

The Bishop in the EKD was the pioneer in the work-up. They had a 2014 study published in order to give the documented then, like a priest in the vicinity of Hamburg for 25 years, took a youth from his community miss.

The study also identifies specific Evangelical risk factors. “The unreflective mixing of Private and official business, and decentralized structures, which make it unclear who is responsible for what – it reduces all of these barriers to potential offenders,” is the balance sheet.

Belongs to the “Evangelical specifics” for the Affected Kerstin Claus is also the area of youth work around the confirmation. Young people would be included easily in the special closeness and openness. This constellation could be easily exploited.

“Failed Relationship”

For the work with young people and confirmation of the EKD concepts for protection against sexual abuse wants to develop

“To be concerned, to arrange Assaults, often it is not sexual abuse, but rather as a failed first relationship, because you are already in an age where sexual contacts are not excluded, and so – even if not desirable – but to the accepted part of proximity can be,” says Claus. Here, there is a need on the part of the Evangelical Church of the clear requirement that relations will not be tolerated in the Church youth work.

How many of the Affected sees Kerstin Claus the agreed refurbishment of sexual violence in the EKD as an important first step. Yet people must continue to fight to be perceived, so your criticism. And still there is no network that promotes the exchange and cooperation of those Affected.

Kerstin Claus know what she is talking about. It took me a long time to you companies by rank, anything at all against the perpetrators. “In the 80s it was much more difficult for victims to say something, where you would have always believed the parish priest,” she recalls.

Only in 2003, Claus was their tormentor in the Bavarian Church. But you got no feedback and was not interviewed as a victim. Later, they learned that disciplinary proceedings are initiated, but against a donation payment had been discontinued.

The offender is to continue as a pastor. And he runs now a Protestant education Academy, advising seminars for parents who have problems with their pubescent children, are offered.

“I think it’s unspeakable,” she says. “I always had to fend off to do with Church lawyers have tried to make my allegations. In 2012 the leadership of the Church responded: Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, at that time Bishop of the Evangelical Church in Bavaria, and today EKD President, apologized to her.