On the sexual offence proceedings against the state witness Johannes Domhöver
Translation of the text „Zum Sexualstrafverfahren gegen den Kronzeugen Johannes Domhöver“ that was published end of July 2022.
+++Trigger Warning: explicit naming of sexualited violence+++
As part of the of the Antifa Ost 129 proceedings, sexual offense proceedings were opened against Johannes Domhöver, who is one of the accused. Both, the cops and the judiciary treated the affected person in the most condencending way and the proceedings were dropped after a year with utterly disgusting justifications.
In Februari 2021, as part of the investigations in the 129 procedure by the LKA Sachsen, Johannes Domhöver’s e-mail inbox got confiscated and evaluated. Thanks to his insecure handling of encryption an e-mail with an allegation of rape (2017) was found. The LKA Sachsen handed over the e-mail directly to the LKA Berlin. The public prosecutor followed up in Februari 2021 by opening a case sexual proceedings against Johannes Domhöver. The affected person was only informed afterwards and summoned as a witness.
Being summoned as a witness, she didn’t had any support at that time. She agreed to be questioned with the hope that there will be some consequences for Johannes Domhöver. The witness interogation was done by detective insprector Ann-Justine Pankau and clerk Lachiheb- Rostami (LKA 133) and, as espected, it was extremely retraumatizing and hostile for her. Surprisingly, the left-wing scene lawyer Alexander Kienzle from Hamburg represented Johannes Domhöver not only in the 129 proceedings. He also decided to represent him in the sexual offence proceedings. Shortly after the first outcall, at the end of October 2021, Kienzle applied for the sexual offence proceedings to be dropped with a detailed justification. He goes through the rape piece by piece, doubts the memory of the one affected and claims the description is a justification for consensual sex. For Kienzle consensus means that at a certain point, the person concerned has endured sexualized acts out of fear. Obvious signals such as repeatedly saying no, crying, pain and black outs on the part of the affected person do not count for him.
The procedure was first closed in march 2022 by state procecutor Dr. Finger in the procescutors office in Berlin. It became clear that signals don’t count for the prosecutor as well. She explained that it’s socially normall to persuade or urge people to engage in sexual activity if they say no. The affected person had to undergo abuse and threat by Johannes Domhöver. She had felt that her resistance would have much worse consequences. But those feelings were denied. According to Dr. Finger it was also not an actual confirmation of rape if Johannes Domhöver admits he was sexualized violent and had threatend to rape her again if she didn’t have sex with him.
Two weeks after the first complaint had been filed against the first attitude, the procedure was finally closed by state procecutor Dr. Hengst in May 2022. Hengst agrees with Dr. Finger and adds up that ‚crying during sexual acts‘ in relationships doesn’t make reluctance clear.
Thoughts on sex crimes
We don’t want to go into more detail about the specific course of rape. We assume that what so far is written in the text is sufficient and ther’s no explination needed that this is the opposite of consensus. In addition we want to say, if a person defines a sexual act as rape, it counts as rape. The only reason we decide to give details of the rape, is to show how hostile the arguments are in sex crime proceedings. The justification that sexualized violence isn’t violence, since it’s socialy customary to people into ’sexual acts‘, shows the abyss in the understanding of sexuality in the German legal system and this society. It is always sexualized violence to coerce people in sexual activity. The fact that sexualized violence and rape are socially common only shows that it’s a structural problem. By saying that crying within a partnership is not enough to indicate noticeable reluctance, Hengst argues the same way as before in 1997, when marital rape was still legal in Germany. The procedure makes very clear that the ‚No means no‘ paragraph (2016) hasn’t any effect in practice. It’s circumvented by classifying the most obvious signs of rape as ‚undetectable disgust‘.
It must have been a special kind of encouragement for Johannes Domhöver that not only the state prosecutor’s offices but also a left wing scene lawyer supported him. It’s a bitter realisation that Kienzle, a lawyer who is trusted by the scene and Rote Hilfe even represented him in the sexual offence proceedings. He accepted the mandate voluntarily. Hoewever, Kienzle’s anti-feminist actions within the process are particulary bitter. It shows the opposite of an emancipatory attitude. It’s disgusting how extensively Kienzle goes through the rape and then claims the rape was consensual sex. As a result, he disqualified himself as a trustworthy lawyer once and for all.
The way Kienzle and co. define sex, their idea of sexuality and consensus is inhuman. They equate sex with rape and their actions continue the dehumanisation of those affected by the perpetrator. As much as we hate them, it’s important to us to hold Johannes Domhöver etc. accountable for their actions instead of dehumanize them in the same way (e.g. wishing them sexualized violence or reproducing rape culture in any other way is in under no circumstances okay).
Johannes Domhöver was encouraged by all those involved in the judiciary that it’s okay to rape WLINTA* persons. This can be transferred to other perpetrators. They know that in all probabillity, they will not have to fear any consequences.
And once again it becomes obvious that this legal system isn’t about justice, but about maintaining the excisting conditions. Circumstances, in which in Germany, a feminicide takes place every third day and WLINTA’s still don’t get state support when they fear a feminicide. Circumstancs where the most dangerous place for women and children is still their own home and in which the majority of all sexual offence proceedings get discontinued.
What can we learn from sex crimes?
Since the state is always on the side of the perpetrator and systematically finishes off those affected, we have to take care outselves in how we deal with perpetrators and providing support for those who are affected indepentendly. We must deprive perpetrators of the sense of security they are given and offer victims other options for action so that they do not feel compelled to report perpetrators with the risk of being re-traumatized and exposed to additional danger.
Alternatives are self-organized structures which, in the power of definition, deal with the perspective of those affected and support them. The priority must never be on dealing with the perpetrators but always and first and foremost on protecting and supporting those affected. In far too many cases, the support work for those affected gets stuck with individual refecrence persons. That’s too much responsibility for individuals and can quickly lead to overload and unhealthy dynamics. Let’s therefore support those affected collectively, taking our respective capacities and limitations into account so we can take care of ourselves and eachother.
When supporting those affected, we can take an example from solidarity groups that do anti-repression work. They take on various tasks that the person affected by repression cannot do alone. There’s a widespread understanding ‚if they touch one, they touch us all‘. Let’s apply this to other forms of violence.
What victims need in terms of support can be very different. It also depends if the violence took place in a violent relationship or not, whether there’s a fear of feminicide, how the survivor is doing etc. Any form of sexualized violence must be taken seriously. What counts is how those affected feel, what they’ve experienced and what they need.
An example of support work could be:
-Supporting the affected person in the most dangerous moment of a relationship like seperation and provide a physical space like a room/house/appartment or help them finding one.
-Accompaniment to appointments with laywer, interrogations/court appointments and visits to a doctors or psychologists.
-Telephone availebility in crisis.
– Collect money for those affected, e.g. for lawyers‘ costs, medical care, relocation. Here we can learn from the concept of the Rote Hilfe (See Lila Hilfe: kontrapolis.info/7382/).
-Listen to those affected, treat them as equals, encourage them and take them seriously.
-Finding the abillity to act together.
-In everything, supporters should respect their own cappacities and limitations
-Valueing support work, offer and provide support to supporters
Our thoughts on outings
In order to protect people and structures, it can be an effective meassure to pubicly outcall perpetrators if this is nessecary. However we find that public outcalls always must be the very last resort. It’s important to pay attention to possible conclusions to those affected in order to avoid possible consequenses such as revenge, unwanted sex crime proceedings or civil lawsuits. For us, an outing, is only an option if the violent person evades any processing and continuesly shows perpetrator behavior, as in the case of Johannes Domhöver. He was repeatedly offered in different ways to take a critical look at his behavior. However, he hasn’t taken any responsibillity and instead denied his actions whilst continuing his perpetrator behavior until this day.
It makes sense to consider what degree of publicity is possible and necesarry. In the case of Johannes Domhöver it was important to spread the information as widely as possible, because he moved to Warsaw and withdrew from any processing and the sphere of influence by others.
It’s very important that in the future the task of stopping perpetrators doesn’t fall back on those affected. But it’s always necessary to act in their interests. In case of Johannes Domhöver, it’s very annoying that those affected had to do the dirty work of an outcall. Those around him knew about his sexualized violent behavior. They could’ve warned about him years ago and thus protected people and structures from him.
Start taking responsibility for your enviroment. Take sexualized violence seriously, stop privatizing relationships and protecting your friends at the expence of others.
The sexual offence proceedings were discontinued unusually quick after the complaint was lodged and Johannes Domhöver had vistited the Secret Service. Due to the timing, it can not be ruled out that the sexual proceedings were discontinued as part of the deal. Either way, it’s very significant for Germany that Johannes Domhöver is now a key wittness and in a witness protection program, while those affected were not and are not granted any protection. Aside from being an unreliable witness, the deal despices all those affected by his violence. The affected person in the sexual offence proceedings was left alone by the state with her fear of femicinide by Johannes Domhöver. She was neither taken seriously in the fact that this danger had increased as a result of the sexual offense proceedings, nor were his threats to ’slaughter‘ a person from out her enviroment taken as a oppertunity to grant protection. In contrast to this Johannes Domhöver was offered a secured interview by Sebastian Hubertus from the LKA 52 (PMK left) before the witness protection as a reaction to the first outcall, and Schlüter-Staats who’s the judge of the129 proceedings, summoned ‚the young man‘ months ago to Dresden so he could comment on the outcall.
Whoever justifies a dangerous situation through the outcalls makes themselves ridiculous and operates perpetrator victim reversal. Johannes Domhöver wasn’t exposed to any danger from leftists. Anyone who reads the outcalls recognizes that it wasn’t about taking revenge on him, but about protecting those affected, warning them about him and excluding him from the radical left. The deal confirms what should’ve been obvious to everyone from the outcalls; Johannes Domhöver was never concerned with a left wing attitude but always and only with violence and power, just as now he’s only concerned with the deal to maintain power. Johannes Domhöver could’ve easily become a right wing extremist. Having never held a stance, it’s not surprising he now sides with the Nazis, cops and intelligence agencies. Anyone who is serious about Anti-Fascism would never unpack, not even in a fight or after an outcall.
Think about the basis on which you organize yourself politically with people. Deal with what they’re about, attitude or just violence and power. A common practice ins’t enough to go a common path politically. Take feminism and sexualized violence seriously. Emanicipatory politics is always feminist!
It’s interesting to see how different people reacted on the outcall and later to the deal: there was sympathy for the affected
and when the deal was signed, people spoke of Johannes Domhöver as a ‚political traitor‘. If you want to work with the concept of ‚political betrayal‘, then you have to do it consistently. Then he has been a ‚political traitor‘ for years with his violence against WLINTA* persons. Imagine if Johannes Domhöver had only once spoken to the cops about others in the past few years -he would’ve been expelled from everywhere, there would’ve been immediate support for those affected by repression. There would have been no discussion. But the fact that he was known to have been sexualized violent for years was simply accepted. He was neither excluded nor were those affected supported. It seems that unpacking at autorities is seen as greater violence and treason then raping WLINTA’s. This mindset needs to change.
As much as we despise Johannes Domhöver, it is important to us not to stylize him or those around him as a monster. Otherwise we make it far to easy for ourselves to distance ourselves from them. If we don’t start fighting sexualized violence collectively, the structural problem, that brought us into this situation, will never change. Although the radical left puts the concrete problems of patriarchal system on the agenda, within their own surrounding there’s still sexualized violence, protection for perpetrators and a hierarchy of violence.
-Deal with the fact that we all grew up with a patriarchal concept of sexuality and start deconstructing it. We have all pushed boundaries with others.
-Think about the situations where you have already been sexualized violent (regardless you’re a cis-man or a WLINTA* person) and how can you prevent this in the future?
-Discuss whether and in what form you’ve protected perpetrators and how you can prevent this in the future.
-Deal with the power of definition, your definition of consensus and sexuality.
-Confront how violent the binary gender system is. Take a preventive approach to your own masculinity and reach out to queer alternatives.
-Take the fear of feminicide seriously, don’t deny those affected by that fear. It never comes out of nowhere. Think about how you can protect those affected from violence and feminicide.
If you don’t want any more oucalls, then stop being sexualized violent! Stop protecting perpetrators. Take responsibility for your enviroment and your actions because feminists will not stop outing perpetrators when it’s necessary.
*Rote Hilfe: organization that provides political and material support to politically persecuted people from the left spectrum
*WLINTA: Women, Lesbian, Intersex, Non – binary, Transgender, A-gender