The world's largest congress held by and for survivors of all child sexual abuse contexts was held in Berlin on the 14th and 15th of September 2018.
"Strong together - together strong": The second MitSprache Congress was held in Berlin on the 14th and 15th of September 2018 under this slogan. The event was hosted by the members of the UBSKM survivors’ board.
Direct exchange areas were created during the two-day congress in which the survivors could exchange their experiences and knowledge. Workshops and panels were held to discuss the main topics of the congress: protection, help, inquiries and questions relating to sexualised violence.
The two-day event was opened with a welcoming speech that was given by Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, the then Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues. Franziska Giffey, the then Federal Minister for Family Affairs, also attended the congress. In her greeting, she thanked the survivors’ board for its work and promised to continue supporting the fight against abuse.
International exchanging of knowledge and experiences
More than 250 participants exchanged their experiences and knowledge in panels and workshops and political decisions and processes were critically examined and specific demands were also prepared for politicians. Current issues, such as coming to terms with abuse within the Catholic Church, were discussed as well as sexual abuse in GDR homes, in sports and in the sciences. Reforming the Victims Compensation Law, prevention possibilities, strengthening specialised counselling, creating shelters for survivors of ritual violence and better criminal law procedural processes as well as research issues were further focal points.
An event that featured exhibits submitted by survivors also highlighted various forms of artistic conflicts with their experiences. Another objective of this congress was to create global networking and initiative exchanges by the survivors.
Congress participants in their own words
Guests from twelve countries participated:
"It was very important for me to come here because I would like to share what I have gone through as a survivor of sexual abuse with others who have also been abused. I want to hear from others what they are doing to help people like me”. - Susan Serficao (Philippines)
"It is heartening to meet all of the activists, experts and social workers here who are advocating for us around the world. By the way, we are not talking just about survivors here, but simply inclusive of us. The congress gives you strength and the feeling of fighting together to combat sexual abuse”. – Hilal Esmer (Turkey)
"This is why we are gathered here, as one community fighting for justice. That's why I'm here, that's why we're all here: to share the word justice with the rest of the world”. - Peter Isely (USA)
Magazine CONCERNS: EVERYONE
The magazine CONCERNS: EVERYONE by the survivors’ board was presented at the congress. In it, the members of the survivors’ board describe their personal commitment, their joint work and their concerns and their demands towards politicians and society in various articles.
Further information about the congress can be found in the press kit.