The Awareness Institute is an association of awareness activists from German-speaking countries who develop and offer concepts and training on the topic of awareness.
We make awareness visible and accessible for organizers, people affected by violence and those who are interested.
What is Awareness?
Awareness is an approach of considerateness in dealing with each other and for one’s own and others’ boundaries and an awareness of power relations.
The awareness approach does not come from theory, but from practice: It was developed by those affected by discrimination and (sexualized) violence and their allies.
As experts of their own affectedness, they created a mutual approach, which arose from the knowledge of power structures.
Awareness contact point North/South:
You are at the right place if you come from the Freiburg or Hamburg region, and
- your boundaries were crossed within a club
- you were looking for support at an event, but no one was available to help you
- you notice in the line up that an artist is performing who has a history of discriminatory behavior
- you were given substances against your will at a party
- you have been subjected to (sexual) violence at a festival
- and much more…
Awareness contact point´s
The Awareness Contact Points are regional contact points for people affected by structural and interpersonal violence in the context of events or groups.
Structural violence expresses itself interpersonally in assaultive behavior, such as sexualized, physical or verbal violence.
As those affected and allies, we stand in solidarity with all those affected. We empower each other to deal with the violence we experience.
The focus of the Awareness Points of Contact is on providing advice to those affected. In addition, organizers, local awareness groups and interested people from the region are supported with information and training on awareness.
The NORD Contact Point supports those affected in the Hamburg region who have experienced discrimination and/or sexualized violence at events.
In the Freiburg region, Anlaufstelle SÜD offers advice for those affected and event organizers, as well as support for awareness groups in southern Germany.
Awareness is about
to be aware that …
- about structural power relations through which people are discriminated against.
- about the interaction of different forms of discrimination (intersectionality).
- about the fact that multidimensional forms of discrimination and violence towards a person often remain invisible.
- about the connections between structural and interpersonal violence.
- about one’s own social and economic position in these power relations.
- about our own actions, through which we reproduce the power relations.
- that it means self-reflection and reflection in the group
- in interaction with each other.
- in dealing with the boundaries of oneself and of other people.
- dealing with people whose boundaries have been crossed.
- in regard to power relationships and their effects.
Attitude and actions
- In relation to people who have experienced structural and interpersonal violence, this means
- to believe them.
- that they have the power of definition (this means they name the violence that took place, no external “neutral” authority judges what happened, how bad it was or what would be good now).
- acting in an way that centers on the person affected: the needs of the affected person are in the foreground.
- to ally oneself with them.
- to take a partisan stand on their side, potentially accepting the loss of one’s own privileges in order to do so.
- to act in their interest and only at their request.
- to strengthen their ability to act.
Our conviction is that
… interpersonal violence is practiced in the context of structural violence.
… there can be no neutral position in the existing relations of dominance.
… interpersonal violence is based on actions (not on personality traits) and it can be unlearned.
… a transformation of social power relations is possible.
… to support those affected by violence and discrimination.
… to offer and anchor awareness structures.
… enable people to empower themselves.
… strengthen intersectionality.
… take responsibility together.
… dissolve power relations.