Can women overcome sexism with confidence

Case studies for moral courage in violence against women

Many people come into the situation of witnessing a crossing of boundaries or an assault on a woman in public space. These situations are unexpected, unsettling and leave you at a loss as to what the correct response would be. The barrier to interfering seems too great, the arguments against it seem overwhelming. There are ways to overcome these hurdles and act effectively without putting yourself at risk. Because it must not be that the victim - who is already completely overwhelmed and burdened by the situation - has to act and is left completely alone.

Working together against violence makes you strong and can prevent violence. It shows the perpetrators that they cannot act unnoticed, unhindered and with impunity. It increases the confidence that you will receive help yourself in a similar situation. Stand together against violence - but safely!

Case study 1

On the street you see a couple arguing. The woman cries, he shakes her, holds her tight, insults her loudly.

What can you do as an observer?

Keep a safe distance. If you cannot really assess the dangerous situation, but have the feeling that the situation could escalate further, call the police on 133. Be available as a witness after the police arrive.

Case study 2

You are sitting in the subway and observe the following situation: slowly and almost unnoticed by others, the man touches the woman's thigh. She is visibly uncomfortable, she sits petrified and stares forward.

What can you do as an observer?

Do not keep this observation and the queasy feeling to yourself. Make another passenger aware of this. It is always better when several people are paying attention. Make eye contact with the person concerned and ask if there is anything you can do for them. In most cases, the perpetrator will desist from the act and move away. If not, use the nearest emergency number on the subway train, establish contact with the driver and briefly describe the situation. The driver will immediately take the necessary steps.

Case study 3

You are sitting in a pub and watch the following scene: A woman looks very drunk, a man wants to get her out of the pub. It is not clear whether the woman would like that.

What can you do as an observer?

Trust your gut feeling. At worst, you have been wrongly concerned and the man is supportive and with good intentions. Let people you are with and the local staff know what you are observing and that you want to make sure everything is okay. Walk up to the woman and ask if she would like to go with the man and if there is anything you can do for her. If the woman confirms that she is afraid to go with the man, ask the local staff to see that the man leaves the woman alone and that the man is expelled from the restaurant.

Emergency number for women

Have you observed or experienced something similar and can't get it out of your head? The advisors on the 24-hour women's emergency number: 01 71 71 9 are there for you. Or you can write an email to [email protected]

Additional information

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City of Vienna | Women's Service Vienna
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