Deutschland: Monika Gerstendörfer

I believe in the flap of a butterfly’s wings: the flap of a single butterfly’s wings in China through a process of build-up can cause a hurricane in Texas.

— Monika Gerstendörfer

The human rights expert and psychologist Monika Gerstendörfer (*1956) does invaluable educational work on the dangers of sexual violence in Germany. The co-founder and director of Lobby für Menschenrechte (Lobby for Human Rights Association) has significantly changed attitudes towards violence against women and children. She has done very useful networking among numerous associations, initiatives, criminal police, journalists, and parliamentarians. Born in Wittenberg, she now lives in Baden-Württemberg.

For 15 years the human rights expert Monika Gerstendörfer has done invaluable work in the field of sexual violence education in Germany. She has studied four languages, art history, law and psychology, and has contributed significantly to changes in social attitudes concerning violence against women and children. It is thanks to her fight that rape in marriage is now a criminal offense. She makes a special effort to use a language that adequately reflects the crimes involved. A co-founder and director of Lobby für Menschenrechte (Lobby for Human Rights Association), she counsels victims, does crisis intervention, is an expert witness at hearings at European Union, federal, and state levels, and works with numerous committees and organizations. She makes speeches, leads workshops, writes articles, press releases, and letters of protest. For six years she was employed in IBM Germany’s science center. This experience helps her to assess the downside of the internet and oppose torture of children on the internet. Monika Gerstendörfer has worked on issues of trafficking women, forced prostitution, sex work and the internet for Irmengard Schewe-Gerigk, member of the German parliament. In addition, she has worked on mass rape in war, sexual harassment in the workplace, domestic violence, human rights for sex workers, genital mutilation, discrimination against gays and lesbians, forced prostitution as modern slavery, killing of infant girls, and sexual torture. Because even experienced professionals are threatened by burnout after intensive involvement with sexual torture and trauma, Monika belongs to a writers’ association and writes fairy tales, fables, poems, and stories.

Lobby für Menschenrechte e. V.