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Harassment: the Silence of the politicians

In the Swiss centre of Power has changed, a year ago, something crucial. A certainty, fell in the Federal house, like rotten beams, as the CVP national Council, Yannick Vacation, the (VS) due to allegations that his ex-girlfriend stalked and sexually harassed in December 2017. Eight national councillors told in the "Nouvelliste" at the time, anonymously of their experiences with Vacation,: high slip-on clothing. Try to touch sexual parts. Hands on the Buttocks. Fierce Hugs. Noticeable Erections. Intrusive Advances. In some cases, third-party would need people to intervene, said the Parliamentarians.

The certainty of the collapsed suddenly, was that such actions, like the politicians, have described, may be borderline, but rarely on the 'polluter pays' fall back – he often remains protected by the shame of the Oppressed and the Silence of the other. It is a certainty, which is also found in many other places of the company was, in offices, in output: a structural Problem. And the lack of sensitivity.

The administrative delegation of Parliament, consisting of the President and Vice-presidents of the two councils, distributed a few days after the public awareness of the Case Vacation, a fact sheet on "the topic of sexual harassment," and declared, what are the differences between harassment and flirting. And for the first Time in the history of Parliament, a focal point was created: The external specialist Agency for bullying and harassment in Bern received for a year the mandate to advise the members of the Council – in all possible forms of harassment or threats. Internal or external. Recently the mandate has been extended with 3600 Swiss francs for a further year budgeted, although had been turned not a member of Parliament, and no MP.

Signal: The Problem

Isabelle Moret (FDP, VD), which belongs as first Vice-President of the national Council for the administration of the delegation, justified the extension of that one year was too short: Whether there are other cases of harassment, it is necessary to observe over a longer period of time. No reported cases does not mean that there had been no cases. Not everyone is as extreme as Vacation, says Moret. Nevertheless, they urge the Council members to report incidents, even those that dünkten a rather harmless. "It's about the principle: we do not tolerate such behavior." The have a preventive effect.

The mere existence of a counseling office, whether in the Federal house, or other place of work, is a Signal, says Anja Derungs, head of the specialist Department for gender equality of the city of Zurich. Potential perpetrators will made it clear that their behavior has consequences. And the Concerned can show that they would be taken seriously. With the point of contact is going to officially be told: The Problem there is, and it exists also in us.

"The threshold for victims to report, however, is high," said Derungs. It is a fact that was just confirmed again by the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is to be found, in Their study "sexual harassment and the sexist handling of women Parliamentarians", published in October, that only 23.5 per cent of the politicians of various European parliaments reimbursed to display, even though they threatened hard, abused, or sexually harassed. Translated, this means: Three-quarters of the perpetrators are not held accountable. "It's a place," said SP national Council member Margret Kiener Nellen (BE). "For the perpetrators this means that you have to fear a high probability of nothing."

As a lawyer Kiener Nellen, is familiar in order to reimburse on behalf of their clients criminal charges, you had to make it for yourself. "We are going to beat your children, rape you and kill you! We know where you live, what you do, and we'll find you follow you and your family!", in a letter, the Kiener Nellen, 2014, at your residential address. Sender: "groupe contre la raciste Margret Kiener Nellen". The long-standing parliamentarian, usual, for your concern and among the most powerful women of Switzerland, and was elected to represent the population in Parliament, had for the first Time, fear.

According to the study, the IPU, it is for members of a large opposition, as a strong women with a career, suddenly threatened to become a victim. It is a role change that many perceive as painful.

The former Zuger certain day, Jolanda Spiess-Hegglin of the Green operates with a network of courage, a non-profit organization, who is actively against hate speech and discrimination on the Internet. She says that they advise many members of the left such as civil, in the case of threats from the population. What stands out: The civil case, it is harder to seek help. "I suspect that this has to do with a stronger belief," says Spiess-Hegglin. Reveal a Bourgeois your colleagues to weakness, you'll be taken less seriously.

"Taboo has now got a face."Anja Derungs

The recalls that national councillor Céline Amaudruz (GE) left in a debate on the case of Vacation, in the SVP-group, out, crying, as the "Sunday view" reported at the time. Amaudruz said that the parliamentarians have made an "inappropriate movement". With some she no longer wanted to ride together in a Lift. The former Faction leader Adrian Amstutz to have accused you ought not to comment publicly on the matter Buttets. The loss of the SVP.

The new sensitivity use

"The fear that something will remain in a hang if you fight back", was probably also a reason why public persons, such as the policy had effort, to contact a point of contact, says Anja Derungs. Generally speaking, such a fracture is in the self-understanding for those Affected is difficult, for women as well as men. In politics or the economy. The offender stands in the hierarchy at work above, he has more Power, is the inhibition even more. Both in the case of sexual harassment, as with threats to do it, according to prevention, the victim to intimidate and muzzle.

she says, however, that many companies were just turned in last year for sexual harassment, and sensitive. #MeToo has meant Vacation, as is the case, that something Hidden will come to the Public and wider addressed. "Taboo has now got a face."

The new sensitivity in the Federal house

the benefit received As a Kiener Nellen, of the anonymous letter, reported to the display. You had to make structural changes to your home to protect your family. It cost you money and nerves. The criminal investigation was eventually suspended, because the sender could not be determined. In another case of threat Kiener Nellen, however, was successful: The perpetrator, who had threatened and insulted, was found. And anything else you brought, thanks to the DNA of the perpetrator, it turned out that this had also threatened two bourgeois politicians – a governing Council and a former national Council. He was punished due to multiple abuse.

The new sensibility that prevails in the Federal house, wants to use Kiener Nellen. In this winter session, has submitted a postulate, the calls to capture the extent and nature of the threats, harassment and Defamation against members of Parliament. "What we are witnessing in Parliament is just the tip of the iceberg." What is happening here is happening elsewhere as well. "All must be clear that you threatened a woman, or molested."

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 16.12.2018, 20:04 PM

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