Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, and provides penalties for violations of up to 15 years in prison. The government enforced the law effectively. According to national police crime statistics, authorities received reports of 7,408 cases of rape or serious sexual assault in 2013. In 82 percent of these cases, police identified the perpetrators. Courts, however, convicted only approximately 12 percent of identified perpetrators due to a lack of required evidence. NGOs and the Green Party criticized the courts’ evidentiary standards as too stringent. In April the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony published a study showing that rapists were often acquaintances or relatives.
The federal government supported numerous projects in conjunction with the federal states and NGOs to deal with gender-based violence, both to prevent violence and give victims greater access to medical care and legal assistance.
The law prohibits violence against women, including spousal abuse. Officials may temporarily deny abusers access to the household without a court order, put them under a restraining order, or in severe cases prosecute them for assault or rape and require them to pay damages. Penalties depend on the nature of the case. The government enforced the law, but authorities believed that violence against women was widespread.
The Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth estimated that approximately 35 percent of women in the country had at some time experienced physical or sexual violence but that 85 percent of these women did not seek external assistance. In 2012 approximately 360 women’s shelters were operational. According to the NGO Central Information Agency of Autonomous Women’s Homes, approximately 17,000 to 20,000 women, plus their children, use the shelters annually. On March 31, the ministry published its first report on a national 24-hour hotline established in 2013, whose 60 staff members provided counseling in 15 different languages for affected women. In its first year of operation, the hotline was contacted 47,504 times and provided 18,800 counseling sessions. Many NGOs at the local level also provided hotlines, assistance, advice, and shelter.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): In September 2013 authorities added female genital mutilation to the list of criminal offenses punishable by one to 15 years in prison. Additionally, immigration law includes provisions requiring authorities to consider FGM/C in reviewing immigration and asylum applications. FGM/C affected segments of the immigrant population and their German-born children, although official statistics were limited.
Other Harmful Traditional Practices: Forced marriages are illegal, invalid, and punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. While there were no reliable statistics on the number of forced marriages, evidence indicated that the problem was more prevalent in the immigrant Muslim community than in the general population. Forced marriages reportedly often led to violence. Victims included women and, in some cases men, whose families brought a spouse from abroad. Additionally, some families sent women to other countries to marry against their will.
The law criminalizes “honor killings,” as it does any form of murder, and provides penalties that could include life in prison. The government enforced the law effectively. A 2011study by the Federal Criminal Statistics Office estimated the number of honor killings at approximately 12 annually between 1996 and 2005. Official data was unavailable.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment of women was a recognized problem. The law prohibits it and requires employers to protect employees from it. A variety of disciplinary measures against harassment in the workplace were available, including dismissal of the perpetrator. The law considers an employer’s failure to take measures to protect employees from sexual harassment to be a breach of contract, and an affected employee has the right to paid leave until the employer rectifies the problem. Although the press reported instances of sexual harassment in the workplace and in public facilities, no statistics were available. Unions, churches, government agencies, and NGOs operated a variety of support programs for women who experienced sexual harassment and sponsored seminars and training to prevent it.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children; to have the information and means to do so; and to attain the highest standard of reproductive health, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. There was easy access to contraception; sexual and reproductive health care, including for sexually transmitted diseases; emergency health care, including for complications arising from abortion; skilled health attendance during pregnancy and childbirth; prenatal care, and essential obstetric and postpartum care.
Discrimination: Men and women enjoy equal rights under the constitution. The law provides for equal pay for equal work. Women were underrepresented in highly paid managerial positions and overrepresented in some lower-wage occupations (see section 7.d.).
During the year the Federal Statistics Office reported that, based on 2013 figures, the hourly pay gap between women and men for equivalent work remained at 22 percent. The survey also found that the gender pay gap increased with age. When adjusted for structural differences (such as profession, education, part-time and full-time employment), the gap narrowed to 7 percent.
In August the German Institute for Economic Research (Deutsches Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung) published a study indicating that women’s per capita gross income, including income from property, interest, and investments, was 49 percent that of men.
In 2013 women occupied 15 percent of positions on supervisory boards in the country’s top 200 companies (an increase from 13 to 14 percent in 2012) and 5 percent of the positions on their management boards. On July 30, the German Federal Statistics Office published a study showing that in 2012 the share of female professors in higher education institutions had almost doubled, to 20 percent, over the previous decade. Slightly more than half of university graduates in 2012 were women; 45 percent held a doctoral degree and 27 percent held postdoctoral degrees. The Antidiscrimination Agency reported in 2013 that women were at a disadvantage regarding promotions, often due to interruptions for child rearing.
There were no statistics available on discrimination against women’s access to credit or housing, but there were reports of single mothers with children having problems in renting apartments.