Spring Semester 2020 Course Law Credits 30
[Society Gender and Law, 120 hp] Supervisor: Lena Wennberg
Germany’s position on
the protection of
migrant women against
in the context of the debate on the
ratification of the Istanbul
The Memorandum or Communiqué of the Federal Government regarding the Istanbul Convention lists laws and policies to justify the governmental hesitations to Article 59. This article, from the Istanbul Convention, serves to safeguard a woman with dependent residency when she suffers from domestic abuse.
Writing a masters, was so to say, an achievement I could only hope to attain. Who would have thought it be so difficult, and especially the last year, so unhinging? I’d like to say congratulations to the fellow students pulling through! And thank you, for your help and your wisdom. My supervisor has been not only very supportive but in her so helpful criticism calming and reassuring; Thank you Lena Wennberg!
"The problem is all inside your head", she said to me "The answer is easy if you take it logically
I'd like to help you in your struggle to be free There must be fifty ways to leave your lover"
Table of Contents
Germany’s position on the protection of migrant women against
domestic violence ... 1 Abstract ... 2 Acknowledgments ... 3 Quote ... 4 Table of Contents ... 5 Abbreviations ... 7 1 Introduction ... 8 1.1 Problem Background ... 8 1.2 Aim ... 9 1.3. Disposition ... 10 1.4. Previous research ... 11
2 Theoretical Departure and Methodological frame ... 13
2.1. Gendered Violence and Justice a Feminist Discourse Theory and Analysis ... 13
2.2. Feminist and critical discourse analysis ... 14
2.3. Delimitations ... 16
2.4. Ethical Considerations ... 17
3 Corpus ... 19
3.1. Current German Legal Frame ... 19
I. The protection of family in a German legal context ... 19
3.2. Istanbul Convention ... 21
3.3. Germany’s Memorandum and response to the Istanbul Convention ... 22
4 Analysis ... 24
4.1. Socio-Political Context ... 24
4.2. Analysis of Memorandum and Convention ... 25
I. ‘The woman’ an empty signifier; homogeneity in gender mirrored in the memorandum’s definition of ‘gender’ ... 26
6 Emergence of adverse problem identifications, and to the convention’s
altered illustration of the to the spouse, in residency, dependent
woman ... 31
III. The Illustration’s significance on WDR and domestic abuse ... 33
4.3 Alternatives ... 34
The re-introduction of a woman with dependent residency permit in the social and legal collective cognizance ... 36
5 Conclusion ... 37
5.2 Further research ... 38
List of reference ... 40
Legal sources and open material ... 40
Literature ... 41
WDR – (Migrant) women with (marital) dependent residency IC- Istanbul Convention
1.1 Problem Background
A lurid press report title of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth 2014 in Germany ascertains “Migrant women are more frequently affected by domestic violence1” their injuries are graver. Governmental authorities deduct these numbers to characteristics women have, or lack of their capabilities, thus the “[…] the social situation, lower level of education and training, the lack of professional and social integration and the lack of a close network of relationships based on trust2” of these women.
Three years later in the year 2017 Germany ratified the Istanbul convention in which it is the impetus of the signatories to eradicate all gender-based violence against all women in their respective countries and across the world. Despite above mentioned cognizance of the vulnerability of migrant women in Germany, the federal government, Merkel and her ministers, manifested reservation against article 59 of the convention, and by it the conventions proposal of the paper to proper safeguarding of migrant women. This article precisely refers to non-EU migrant women married to a spouse with residence permit or of German citizenship and domestic abuse. Grave critique was quickly publicized, vastly from the left, women’s houses – who specifically encounter the urgency and numbers of WDR in their institutions- and legal associations.
Many are questioning the realization of implementation of the Istanbul Convention, with a characteristically exposing reservation as such in place, and highlight a perceived paradox between safeguarding merely some women and not all34. The government with its memorandum on the topic of domestic abuse, delineates that “[i]n the fields of criminal law, criminal procedural law and civil law, the German legal system already guarantees a high level of protection against the various forms of domestic violence and violence against women."5.
1 BMFSFJ.de. 2014. Gewalt Gegen Migrantinnen. [online] Available at:
<https://www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/themen/gleichstellung/frauen-vor-gewalt-schuetzen/migrantinnen-schuetzen/gewalt-gegen-migrantinnen/80648> [Accessed 23 March 2020].
2 BMFSFJ.de. 2014, n 1
3 Deutscher Juristinnenbund e.V., 2018. Zur Anhörung Des Ausschusses Für Gleichstellung Und Frauen Des
Landtags Nordrhein-Westfalen Am 6. September 2018 Zum Antrag Der Fraktionen SPD Und Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Drucksache 17/2546.
4 Wahlkompass-antidiskriminierung.de. 2019. Wahlkompass Antidiskriminierung. [online] Available at:
<https://wahlkompass-antidiskriminierung.de/ltwth2019/schutz-vor-gewalt-fuer-alle-frauen/> [Accessed 11 March 2020].
5 BT-Drs. 18/12037 (2017): Drucksache des Deutschen Bundestages 18/ 12037 vom 24. April 2017: Entwurf
9 By this inquiry into prevailing discourse surrounding women migrants and intimate partner violence, I aim at a feminist political critique, my intention is to transgress current gendered practices and groupings, to take a look at a hypothetical alternative feminist legal frame. I aim at a provocative illustration of a reality for some women which have not “fifty ways to leave [a] lover6”, who indeed have none. The aim in this Introduction serves to illustrate my critique and aids as the central theme to which the text will refer to continuously, further previous research contextualizes the problem- question.
The socio-political frame, opening the analysis chapter, reviews the societal backdrop of the subject, since discourse mirrors too in society’s metacontext, contingent in common perception of the current and the past7.
Aim of this thesis is threefold, and objectives based on them many-fold. It first (I.) encompasses the intention to contextualize the above identified inquiry or problem, socio-politically, by looking at social and political events that may have swayed and shaped German discourse in the time of ratification of the Istanbul Convention.
Through contextualization, a researcher aspires to triangulate results, as well as beyond the common legal dogmatic, deduct possible answers. This involves the notion that discourse, and with-it policies and law is constantly reconstructed by social practices. The analysis will thus make use of a comparative inquiry, balancing the conventions definitions with that of the German governmental.
II. The perspectivation and comparison roughly evokes the public made illustration of women with a dependent residence permit- WDR and this target group. Based on this, it is my aim to discuss how the German government argues its reservations about Article 59 of the Istanbul Convention.
ii. I will do this through discourse analysis, illustrating the picture the federal government paints of ‘the woman’ and a migrant woman with a dependent residence permit who is affected by domestic violence. I aim to look at the
6 Paul Simon in his song” fifty ways to leave your lover” speaks of the many ways to ’get free’: the ways for
men to leave their partner. It is also the quote I chose in the beginning of my thesis. The quote shows the stark contrast between what is accepted as truth: the ability to leave a partner out of one’s own accord.
7 Wodak, Ruth, Meyer, Michael (2009): Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. 2. Aufl. Thousand Oaks: SAGE
effects this illustration may have on the protection of the woman mentioned above from domestic violence. Deriving what it is the women can or cannot do, according to what the German Legal frame allows currently, and what the Istanbul convention may enable, and the introductory contextualization, one will be able to deduct some of the consequence’s women experience. ii. Also, to examine how the federal government weighs state interests (in the
right of residence) against the protection of women from violence (in the human right). Analysis will highlight, through examining the topoi being used, priorities set in governmental practices, and justification used according to them.
III. In the spirit of a feminist legal theory and critical legal criticism, I demonstrate how and if the protection of the above-mentioned group of women may be better guaranteed in German law. It is the ambition of the feminist author to highlight what is deficient in current systems, and what serves betterment in it8.
The thesis consists of mainly five parts. The Introductory chapter contains problem identification of the study, aim and objectives in relation to it.
Previous research and its intersectional backdrop help focusing aim and objectives. In similar means are the Theoretical departure and methodological frame underscoring a feminist critical benchmark, and a methodological setting compounded of various analytical techniques. Not only the feminist discourse theory aid as a foundation, the previous research on intersectional perspectivation of the target group function partly functions as a theory sued in this analysis.
The chapter on corpus of the inquiry, introduces the texts and laws regulating the target group’s reality. Eventually, the analysis brings backdrop, theory and corpus together, puzzling a picture, answering aim and objectives. The conclusion summarizes the findings and alternatives as stated in my aim.
8 Fineman, Martha Albertson, Feminist Legal Theory (2005). Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, Vol.
1.4. Previous research
Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence: Intersectional Perspectives in a Biographical Context
Current and dominant working and established concepts of women and domestic abuse are framed around a Eurocentric-, white and heterosexual ‘knowledge’; laws and policies (e.g. surrounding this target group) and domains of work are thus based around them9.
Therefore, common laws of domestic abuse are aimed at ‘the one woman’ and the specificity of some experiences are trivialized. This “[…] unifying [of all women’s] perspectives influence the way in which the perseverance and effects of violence are analyzed10”.
Nadja Lehmann's intersectionality research paper of 2008 on the intricacies of the issues faced by immigrant women enduring domestic abuse conversely showcases the women's, often with abuse, dependent biographies and other contextually relevant concerns.
As an affront to the omnipresent homogenous woman, defined in her gender only, in need of merely one legal frame, Lehmann instead demonstrates the heterogenous woman. The interviewees in her study are presented diverse in upbringing, behavior, justifications, and all dissimilar too in the way society treats them; political exclusions have indeed frequently been described to be an integral part of the women’s experiences of violence.
The women, though, recount domestic violence in Germany in a myriad of different contexts or themes; frequently racism by spouse and society plays a part, class-, gender-, based discrimination, an abusive family of origin. Indeed, the German government has long viewed different cultures as opposing each other, or cultural “monolithic blocks11”, and migrants the carrier of cultural messages. In this theory, a migrant woman too is in culture and acting unchanging and determined by her cultural ethos. Integration is therefore used as a term, filled with assumptions of the ideal course of cultural adaption to Germany.
On the other hand, ascending socially through marriage into Germany for many women is a survival strategy, nevertheless the resulting dependency in residence and relationships in Germany are exceedingly problematic for the women, just as returning is often problematic due to connected feelings of shame.
This frequently leads the target group experience of rejection from either culture or country.
9 Lehmann, N. (2008). Migrantinnen im Frauenhaus. Opladen [Germany]: Verlag Barbara Budrich. 10 Lehmann, 2008, n 9, p. 22
12 Accordingly, gender does not individually represent an experienced conflict, but biographical self-representation and narrative background, based on diverse understandings of family and loyalty leads women into diasporic reality. The women’s immigrational narrative prompts an increased need for belonging, to belong to a family, to belong to a country. The denial of this need, through intimate partner violence, and social and legal gatekeeping, encourages an introspection of both oppression and a ‘belonging- crisis’ which is fought out by means of the women’s biography and the themes. These categories intersect occasionally and may not only be viewed as a deficit; Rather “[i]n connection with power structures and their thematization, the considerations of 'intersectionality as a resource' is vital12”.
Viewing intimate partner violence from a supraindividual perspective legally and socially instead of a binary gender-perspective, common in current law, helps achieve a respective distance to the topic, Lehmann argues. The envisaged supraindividual perspective is conversely based on the women’s biography, their experience of racism, the dynamic that residency permits play in relationships, et cetera, and the effects all those themes have on women; Domestic violence occurring in a relationship is oftentimes riddled with other existing power structures that need to be acknowledged.
Theoretical Departure and Methodological frame
2.1. Gendered Violence and Justice a Feminist Discourse Theory and
A discourse theory constructed around a feminist foundation proposes that white men are the “normal legal subjects”13. Thus, laws are made for them, and socio-political and historical context speaks through them. Accordingly, actions done by white cis men, are either sanctioned or not; women are hereby exposed or protected by law, but always objects in relation to it- hereby defines the queer dictionary a cis man “a person who was assigned to the male sex at birth and also identifies himself as a man14”. Women and men deviating from behavior deemed ‘normal’ to their gender (strong men vis-á-vis a pure and “white” woman “without a criminal record”15), are often mistrusted in criminal cases, as such cases of intimate partner violence are. Empty signifiers such as ‘woman’, ‘man’, or the target group of this research, are, by hegemonic authorities, put in correlation with other semiotic signs – such as ‘pure’, ‘without criminal record’ would be- to make it then a discourse; such hegemonic authority may be societal patriarchal structures16.
This act of association of meanings, by Mouffe& Laclau is called ‘articulation’; depending on what elements of signs are connected- verbally or textually-, by whom and in what context, discourse fixates singular meaning17. Accordingly, through Feminist Critical Discourse “we  challenge the traditional assumptions that “science” and reason, largely developed and reinforced by upper-class, male academics, represent any objective, reliable, or universal foundation of knowledge” , and so as well question the rules the discourse put out through law and men; take an inquiry into which evidence is deemed reliable, which truths are thought reasonable and potential truths judged as illegal. Gender equality and its attainment is here an umbrella term in the Istanbul convention and should be considered an empty signifier, open to interpretation by any means and any ratifying state. The same goes for empty signifiers such ‘women’, and among them WDR.
13 Hamilton, M., 2009. Expert Testimony On Domestic Violence. El Paso: LFB Scholarly Pub. 14 Queer Lexikon. 2019. Cis Mann - Queer Lexikon. [online] Available at:
<https://queer-lexikon.net/2017/06/15/cis-mann/> [Accessed 7 May 2020].
15 Hamilton, M., 2009, n 13
16 Lazar, M., 2007. Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis [Electronic Resource]. Basingstoke: Palgrave
14 Feminist discourse theory encompasses too the notion that women’s material and semiotic discrimination isn’t all the same, but different for every woman depending on “[…]the overlap of the gender structure with other relations of power based on race/ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, age, culture and geography[…]18”.
Discourse theory assumes that semiotic text, whether spoken, written or other, construct our world and are constructed contextually by it; social, political and historical. Gendered norms are habitually acted out in everyday texts and talk, and through social-legal gatekeeping19. They are ‘reality’, the ‘grand narratives’, and oftentimes naturally assumed to be objective20. They have indeed no meaning if we don’t assign it any and connote it with other meanings or signifiers- language filled with values and strong connotation21. Discourse methods seek to reveal society’s taken for granted ‘knowledge’ of for instance hierarchical gender structures solidified in various texts and instead exposes its, subjectivity, indefiniteness- and contextually- dependent nature.
2.2. Feminist and critical discourse analysis
Yet, fixating meaning and so create ‘reality’ is what we continually aim to do; through putting meaning, semiotic elements, either in equivalence or conversely disconnect elements of language and their meaning from each other to for example create ‘the other’; to exclude and include chosen groups in society. This analysis assumes that policies are representative of truth generation and normative assumptive frames. Through policies and laws, people structure and organize equivalent meaning, legitimized by a through them identified social problem. Policies and law then propose a suitable explicit or implicit solution to the previously identified concern.
The inquiry’s corpus of law, a memorandum of the Federal Government to the Istanbul Convention, legitimizes the reservation of Article 59 of the Convention by a list of laws and policies. Thus, the memorandum structures and fixates elements of discourse around the decision, generating new ‘truth’ and solidifying discourse. In accordance with frame analysis, the memorandum, the laws and policies are examined and analyzed as symbolic normative
18 Lazar, M., 2007, N 16, p. 10 19 Lazar, M., 2007, N. 16
20 Wodak, Ruth, Meyer, Michael (2001): Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. 1. Aufl. Thousand Oaks:
15 assumptions of society, and truth generating in society. To identify the illustration of WDR within the memorandum, the analysis and its context is framed around ‘sensitizing questions’ denoted to policy frame analysis. Themes of this process are that of ‘Diagnosis’ and ‘Prognosis’; What here is the identified problem, and What is the proposed solution to the issue22? This analysis differentiates between how the Istanbul Convention answers to the question and how the German government, to delimitate between actors within the memorandum as it may seem as though answers otherwise overlap. Sub-questions and sensitizing questions as illustrated in the subsequent table assist to further identify the political illustration of WDR and help organize my analysis:
(D) What is the identified problem23? (P) What should be done about the Diagnosis24?
(D.a) What in this problem identification is assumed to be ‘normal’, normative behavior?
(D.b) Whose problems is it seen to be? At whose disadvantage?
(P.a) Who is the target group of the policies/ laws?
a. “How and where are measures on sexual equality or on racism marginalizing women25?”
(D.c) Is diversity considered in this problem identification?
a. “how and where is feminism marginalizing ethnic minorities26?”
(D.d) Who had a voice in the Diagnosis? Who framed the solution?
(P.b) Who had a voice in the Prognosis? Who framed the solution?
22 Verloo, M., & Lombardo, E. (2007). Contested Gender Equality and Policy Variety in Europe: Introducing a
Critical Frame Analysis Approach. In VERLOO M. (Ed.), Multiple Meanings of Gender Equality: A critical frame analysis of gender policies in Europe (pp. 21-50). BUDAPEST; NEW YORK: Central European University Press. Retrieved March 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/10.7829/j.ctt1cgf8zd.7
23 Verloo, M., & Lombardo, E. (2007), N 22 24 Verloo, M., & Lombardo, E. (2007), N 22
16 To challenge hegemonic structures, societal patriarchal frame, in this analysis, is to recognize the actors behind problem formation and solution findings. It is too to categorize players with the notion that “[…] only if there is some space for “subaltern or non-hegemonic counterpublics” to participate in the debate27” can current authority be contested. Further, to
understand the that grouping into experts separate from civil society poses a problem; what class produces knowledge, and which does not28. While deconstructing produced knowledge and policy is one object of inquiry, another is- de lege ferenda – exposing polysemic signifiers and through alternate articulation (illustrated above) in law and context, opening the prospect of a new legal frame, encompassing the interest of WDR respectively. This will thus be the last point of departure for this analysis; How could WDR – the problem identified in relation to them- be differently articulated in governmental discourse, to better encompass their interest in policy.
There are forever other meaning potentials which, when actualized in specific articulations, may challenge and transform the structure of discourse. Articulation justifies quite discursive changes in society; it fixates meaning and places value on otherwise polysemic text, “every verbal or written expression […] is also […] an articulation […]29”. Connecting
elements of language with each other, thus may redefine meaning, create alternative discourse. Thus, I pose the question, what role articulation has played for WDR in governmental discourse, namely the communiqué previously, further, how to aim for differential discourse; in what way to redefine political and legal discourse through articulation.
(A) What are Alternatives to current Articulation in the communiqué?
(A.a) What role has Articulation played for WDR in governmental discourse previously? (A.b) How can articulation be used to redefine the current legal frame concerning WDR in Germany
Due to initially already anticipated time- and space- confinements within a master thesis, delimitations had to be made. One such delimitation is allocating this feminist critique of the
17 illustration on the target group, exclude an in-depth inquiry of the frame generated for ‘women’ altogether. Yet, understanding what defining character ‘women’ have in a governmental legal frame, aids the analysis in deducing in- and out groupings and delimit the illustration of WDR. Furthermore, taking an inquiry into other peer-groups, refugee women and domestic abuse for instance, would have went beyond the scope; Hence, within this analysis relevant articles pertaining to the target group only were used, to stay within the frame.
Using political frame analysis with this intersectionality theoretical frame departure, risks faults ascribable to an amateurship; due to the novel concept in research30. The legal frame used here, is the German one; one must see though, that Germany is a federal state, in which each member state negotiates laws for themselves, interpreting and adapting them differently depending on state. Within this text, the overall legal perquisites, irrespective of state, are illustrated. A complex analysis in between states may show different privileges/ acting in different state indicative of discriminatory practices. This, though, is not goal of the respective analysis here. The memorandum is 50 pages long, analyzing it all would be negligent of the detail, though excluding parts may cause eliminating to the discussion helpful ‘knowledge’. Within this study explicitly the introductory themes of the communiqué and references to article 59 of the Istanbul convention will be acknowledged and analyzed. The topic at hand invites for an inquiry into the media coverage of it, with a similar aim; the representation or illustration of WDR in media. Though it would be too broad for this master thesis, it could open to different conclusions of discourse now and then. Finally, the text is no attempt to critique the Istanbul Convention, talk of the normative assumptions hidden in it, though this could be helpful in illustrating an overall comparative international picture of women, feminism and specifically the target group WDR.
2.4. Ethical Considerations
I am a Majority German woman. The topic I intend to illustrate involves a group of women and their experiences, which I have not been personally confronted with. The findings I deduce from dogmatic and intersectional feminist legal critique, attempting to abstract somewhat a reality the women live, and struggling not to dive into sweeping generalizations.
Rice argues thus “Intersectionality deals with the complexity and messiness of lives, relationships, structures, and societies, so data collection and analysis methods must be
18 responsive to contexts and serve liberatory objectives31”. The theories I chose, the methods I use are based on this objective, whereas attempting to steer clear from paternalistic assumptions on that topic.
Ethical considerations exist in any research, aimed at the target group, generalizability and validity of the inquiry. Through triangulation and awareness of it, the research can counteract this challenge.
31 Rice, C., Harrison, E. and Friedman, M. (2019) ‘Doing Justice to Intersectionality in Research’, Cultural
The study overall makes use of both the German legal system, specifically the residency Act pertaining to WDR, and the Istanbul Convention, its nature and articles referring to this respective target group. Specifically, in this analysis, the utilization of the governmental communiqué in comparison to the Istanbul convention serves as my pivotal to corpus to be analyzed.
3.1. Current German Legal Frame
Now I will make note of the German legal frame scaffolding the role of women and men with a dependent residence permit. The laws referred to, examine and scrutinize partners with residency permit in their respective family system and in their marriage, accordingly contingent on those laws are the processes and illustrations on the women claiming domestic abuse. In these laws, the partner’s responsibilities and perquisites for a stay in Germany are described and a definition of family is portrayed; one which enjoys special protection.
I. The protection of family in a German legal context
§6 of Basic German Law (GG) is generally understood to be the family’s legal insurance. It is arguably a mirror of what is highly valued in the federal state; thus, “Marriage and family are under the special protection of the state order”32. Rarely is the state interfering in the family’s workings, only when absolutely necessary is the household separated33. Pivotal protection applies to the mother only, who “is entitled to the protection and care of the community34”, thus, essential understood is her functioning in the family system, her role at least is seen in need to be particularly protected. Hence, is the ministry for women in the Federal Republic simultaneously the ministry for youth, seniors and family- BMFSFJ35.
State protection, in part, extends to a family in which one partner’s residence is marriage dependent. Generally speaking, non-EU- Migrant women residing in Germany who obtain their residence permit through their spouses – either because their spouses are German, or otherwise
32 §6(1) Deutsches Grundgesetz (Basic Law) 33 §6(2–3) Deutsches Grundgesetz (Basic Law) 34 §6(4) Deutsches Grundgesetz (Basic Law)
20 have a permanent residence authorization themselves- are legally in residence tied to and dependent on their partners- WDR; They are legally identified in their family framework. The protection, and simultaneously the responsibility, of the WDR’s respective family is therefore illustrated in §27 of the residence act ‘principle of family reunification’, in which regulations, responsibilities of the residence dependent partner and prerequisites for her/his extended residence in Germany are enumerated, for the family and the target group to enjoy a similar protection under §6 of Basic Law.
This law makes possible or denies, too, a family reunion, in which the partner may bring family from abroad to stay in Germany, though only if proven that the Matrimony is ‘real’ – opposed to scam and forced marriages. Relatives brought over by the partner, ought to be in no organization that may endanger the federal republic- terrorist or other.
To ask for extension of residence, women – in this text the target group- hence need to proof the sincerity of their marriage, but also “[…] if he or she has been in possession of a residence permit for three years, the family relationship with the German citizen continues to exist in the Federal territory, there is no interest in deportation and he or she has sufficient knowledge of the German language” according to §28 residency act Family reunion with Germans.
WDR raising domestic abuse allegations in Germany
An independent residence permit, sovereign from spouse and family, is obtainable in three occasions;
I. when the marriage has sustained a three-year mark in their respective federal state (§ 31 paragraph. 1 sentence 1 Nr. 1 Residence Act)
II. if/ when a termination of residence due to exceptional hardship can be established (§ 31 paragraph. 2 Residence Act)
III. when the partner deceases
The eligibility of hardship cases
The local foreigner authority or the hardship commission tests each case for proof and reliability and decide thus individually whether the case is in accordance with § 31 paragraph 2 of the residence act36.
36 Berlin.de. n.d. Die Härtefallkommission - Berlin.De. [online] Available at:
21 Proving domestic abuse, irrespective of this target group, repeatedly turns out challenging for the women involved, illustrates the federal ministry for family, youth, seniors and women – BMFSJF- in a report titled ‘More protection against domestic violence’37.
Pivotal evidence, such as witnesses and doctors’ certificates, rarely exist; sometimes there are no physical injuries at all. Victims may then be able to provide personal testimony, ask for an expert to look at psychological damages38.
Similarly trying is it for the target group WDR. In fact, Lower Saxony’s ministry of health and equality postulates, that “[t]he longer a wife's stay in Germany has lasted, the lower the requirements for special hardship and vice versa39”. The shorter the stay, the lesser the integration in Germany, the higher the chance to go back to her home country, so the political notion. Women of the target group are both tested on their testimony in regard to the domestic abuse allegation, and their integrational aptness- owing their migration background.
3.2. Istanbul Convention
The Istanbul Convention, or the ‘Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence’ formulated by the Council of Europe, was made available for signature in May 201140, and was made specifically, too, for women in the WDR target group. It is a binding agreement that at the core aims to contest current societal structures that harm, discriminate against and abuse women. To challenge such structures, the convention asks the affiliated states to “recognize […] that the realisation of de jure and de facto equality between women and men is a key element in the prevention of violence against women41”, meaning realizing the fundamentality of gender mainstreaming. Thus, methodically states of the convention ought to prevent of, protect from and prosecute offenders of discrimination against women, on all levels, with the help of all actors- governmental and non-governmental and gender sensitive policies42.
37 Bmjv.de. 2015. Mehr Schutz Bei Häuslicher Gewalt. [online] Available at:
<https://www.bmjv.de/SharedDocs/Publikationen/DE/Schutz_haeusliche_Gewalt.pdf?__blob=publicationFil e&v=22> [Accessed 7 May 2020].
38 Report BMFSJF Schutz bei Häsulicher Gewalt, N. 33
39 Ms.niedersachsen.de. n.d. Migrantinnen Und Häusliche Gewalt | Nds. Ministerium Für Soziales, Gesundheit
Und Gleichstellung. [online] Available at:
<https://www.ms.niedersachsen.de/startseite/frauen_gleichstellung/wer_schlagt_muss_gehen/migrantinnen-und-haeusliche-gewalt-14107.html> [Accessed 12 May 2020].
40 Istanbul Convention Action against violence against women and domestic violence. n.d. Historical
Background. [online] Available at: <https://www.coe.int/en/web/istanbul-convention/historical-background> [Accessed 14 April 2020].
41 Preamble, Istanbul Convention
22 Though, the convention’s self-proclaiming integral perspectives are that of Gender generally and it speaks of protecting ‘all women’, their focal point specifically is that of ‘Migrant women, women asylum seekers and women refugees’43. Gender perspective is a key theme to help understand the underlying issues that women and men face in contemporary society, yet, one of the convention’s primary leitmotif is being cognizant that migrant women, women that are asylum seekers, and refugee women are„[…] groups […] at increased risk of violence [that] face similar difficulties in overcoming it44”.
Besides its definition of key subjects, preventative measures and obligations, the convention dedicates chapter “VII –[to] Migration and asylum”, thereby acknowledging the vulnerability of this group. In it, authors of the convention ask participating actors to recognize in case of WDR autonomous residence status, in a situation of “particularly difficult circumstances45” and specify to make possible “an autonomous residence permit irrespective of the duration of the marriage or the relationship46”. Nevertheless, the convention simultaneously permits room to define conditions, in which autonomous residency is granted.
In Article three, the Istanbul convention clarifies “[…] one of the two following situations” in which a residency permit ought to be permitted:
“A) where the competent authority considers that their stay is necessary owing to their personal situation;
B) where the competent authority considers that their stay is necessary for the purpose of their co-operation with the competent authorities in investigation or criminal proceedings.”
And eventually add in Article 4 to guarantee a residency permit to victims of forced marriage in the country in which they reside habitually.
Germany’s Memorandum and response to the Istanbul
Germany’s response to the Istanbul convention’s conditions and the ratification is, according to the BMFSFJ website “[…]an important signal internationally47”; the communiqué is, thus, a
43Preamble, Istanbul Convention 44 Preamble, Istanbul Convention
45 §59(1) Residence Status, Istanbul Convention 46 §59(1) Residence status, Istanbul Convention
47 BMFSFJ. 2017. Deutschland Ratifiziert Istanbul-Konvention. [online] Available at:
carrier of the message and concerns the government has with the contract. The memorandum too displays how the government understands the convention, its definitions of violence, domestic abuse, gender et cetera. Accordingly, in the communiqué each of the convention’s preamble and article is first explained as understood by the government and then the German legal frame is showcased, specifically the to the convention’s articles assimilable paragraphs and articles.
The analysis of this thesis deals with the illustration the government paints, when speaking of women with dependent residency, the argumentation against article 59 of the Istanbul Convention. Unsurprisingly demarcations had to be made, to what parts of the communiqué aid the aim of this thesis;
In part three of the general information on the communique ‘Assessment of the Agreement’, the government speaks of the eligibility and applicability of the document to the German context. The governmental review of Article three of the IC ‘Definitions’ underscores the definitional process of the government vis-á-vis the document’s concepts. Article 4
‘Fundamental rights, equality and non-discrimination’ highlights values carried by and
4.1. Socio-Political Context
I’d like to open the analysis by contextualizing the ratification of the convention socio-politically. The Council of Europe signed the Istanbul Convention when it was introduced, in the year 2011, though it was only ratified six years later. 2017, and with it the ratification, precedes a significant year, a year that had swayed the choice to sanction the convention, and the means of its implementation in Germany. 2015/2016 on New Year’s Eve, a group of mostly North African men had sexually harassed, abused and raped women who had been celebrating this night nearby the Cologne Cathedral48. A political call for more security in Germany, through more police, stricter more resolute deportation acts, quickly echoes through Germany49. Vehemently discussed then was also Germany’s sexual criminal law; safeguarding women from abuse, as it occurred in that night, was rapidly prioritized and legal changes were in November 2016 still quickly implemented. Accordingly changed was the sexual criminal act. The sexual criminal act paragraph 177 and 184i; preceding the ‘happenings’, above described, saying ‘no’ or ‘please, stop’ to sexual intercourse now was a crime -paragraph 177-, when it previously was not50.
Years earlier, feminists too, had criticized the archaic legal frame of rape, in which an active physical fight and its evidence was necessary to pose as a rape case; without them triggering actual legal reform. Yet, after the New Year’s Eve night as well, the ‘groping’ women out of a group is since the ‘happening51’ considered a crime, in which everyone belonging to that group is eligible for indictment and imprisonment of up to two years- paragraph 184i, which reads:
48 Lauter, R., 2017. Kölner Silvesternacht : Zwei Jahre Und 36 Verurteilungen Später. [online] ZEIT ONLINE.
Available at: <https://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitgeschehen/2017-12/koelner-silvesternacht-2015-sexuelle-uebergriffe-ermittlungen> [Accessed 13 March 2020].
49 Marschall, B., 2016. Verfassungsrechtler Rupert Scholz: „Gefahrenpotenzial Für Öffentliche Sicherheit
Wächst Massiv“. [online] RP ONLINE. Available at: <https://rp-online.de/nrw/panorama/rupert-scholz-gefahrenpotenzial-fuer-oeffentliche-sicherheit-waechst-massiv_aid-21207017> [Accessed 10 April 2020].
50 Werthschulte, C., 2017. "Nach" Köln Ist Wie "Vor" Köln. Die Silvesternacht Und Ihre Folgen | Apuz. [online]
bpb.de. Available at: <https://www.bpb.de/apuz/239696/die-silvesternacht-und-ihre-folgen> [Accessed 6 May 2020].
51 News articles kept referring to it as the ‘incident’ or a ‘happening’: I adopted the terminology in this paper,
25 “In particularly serious cases, the penalty shall be imprisonment for a period of between three months and five years. A particularly serious case shall normally be when the act is
committed jointly by several persons5253”
The proposal of change within paragraph 184i by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), was not voted by the political left wing due to “[the] link to the right of asylum […] divert[ing] attention away from women's right to self-determination […] acquir[ing] a racist connotation”54- owed justification of existence; remembering the New Year’s Eve night and what had caused the adjustment in the sexual criminal act.
The change of sexual criminal law in Germany, had made the state ultimately eligible to ratify the Istanbul Convention in 2017, whereas the previous sexual criminal act was not sufficient by the convention it now was. The crimes on New Year’s Eve and the following political and social debate of the protection of women vis-á-vis seeking security from criminal asylum seekers had generated the implementation of the Istanbul Convention; with its enactment came a subsequent dispute on proper safeguarding of WDR seeking help when facing domestic abuse.
What effect had the enactment on the WDR and their dual reality as women/ wives, and migrants, in light of contemporary changes, what consequence had the socio political context on the memorandum and eventually the decision of the ‘how’ of implementation of the Istanbul Convention?
4.2. Analysis of Memorandum and Convention
Legal processes grasp woman’s matters naturally in a context of the discourse surrounding them; to comprehend governmental processes of WDR and domestic abuse, I maintain, one needs to link the discourse of the target group, with the one about ‘woman’ on the whole; which she is part of. I moreover postulate the importance, to underscore the woman’s individuality, and will therefore from now on refer to ‘woman’ when analyzing the effects of policies and discourse on her.
52 § 184i Abs. 2 Satz 2-3 StBG
53 All translations from German to English, whether legal texts or scientific articles, I have made on my own. 54 Galaktionow, B., 2016. Sexualstrafrecht: Nein Heißt Jetzt Nein. [online] Süddeutsche.de. Available at:
26 Thus, I commence an introductory intersectional analysis of ‘woman’ in the memorandum and Istanbul Convention, to make then use of a comparing study of the illustration of woman with dependent residency- WDR. Eventually I conclude with an inquiry into the discursive illustration of WDR and domestic abuse, and an alternative articulation of proper legal safeguarding in contemporary legal and social discourse.
I. ‘The woman’ an empty signifier; homogeneity in gender mirrored in the memorandum’s definition of ‘gender’
The mirrored depiction of ‘woman’ in the ‘definition’ excerpt of the memorandum, is in general congruent with that of the Istanbul Convention. The identified problem, both in the Istanbul Convention and the federals memorandum is ‘social constructed subordination and thus vulnerability of ‘woman’’. Though the convention mentions ‘persons made vulnerable by particular circumstances55’ to refer to sub-groups, definitional purposes of Gender and social constructionism, mostly divide between the socially constructed role of ‘man’ and ‘woman’. The binding agreement consequently documents:
“gender” shall mean the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men56”
When vulnerability and subordination is cited, it is in relation to man mostly;
“[…] violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between women and men, which have led to domination over, and discrimination against,
women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women;57”
diverse exposure and experiences of violence, in the general definitions of gender and violence, are not revealed. Apart from a separate chapter particularly on ‘Migration and asylum’ and an article reminding states on non-discriminatory implementation of the convention, irrespective of race, and other factors, little intersectionality is integrated into the overall discriminatory picture the convention tries to draw58.
55 § 12(3, 18, 46) General Obligations, Istanbul Convention 56 § 3(b) Definition, Istanbul Convention
57 Preamble, Istanbul Convention
27 Guided by the definitional principle, Germany examines the conventions understanding as follows:
“Besides the biological differences between women and men, there are also socially constructed differences59”
Explicit examples of experiences different to man brought forward are in relation to gainful employment and wage, possibilities of management positions for ‘woman’ and various in relation to family responsibilities, altogether in relation to ‘man’; Accordingly, no indication in it of dissimilar discriminatory experiences for diverse women, besides necessary chapters and articles on specific groups – victims, migrants, disabled women60. In her study, Lehmann argues, that women are often put under the same heading and group, associated with identical experiences of discrimination. This discounts experiences of racism, dependency, compromising different comprehension of family and employment values- experiences that a woman with dependent residency may have61.
Accordingly, ‘woman’ an empty signifier, is filled with values connected to family, employment responsibilities; the benchmark of this gender-binary perspective pushes the interest of ‘one woman’, the woman who concerns herself in preserving family and gainful employment with a comprehensible value on family and work, the ‘woman’ in a disagreement and yet in matrimonial with ‘the man’.
‘Family’ too is packed with the significance of ‘mother’, ‘woman’, a place in which the pivotal conflict ‘work vis-á-vis family life’ is contested. Not surprising is therefore, that the ministry for women is the ministry for family too; an example and a consequence of discursive articulation of woman in Germany today;
According to the problem identification, the subordination of woman in her family, and mother in the work-realm, ‘mother’, woman, is legally safeguarded in Basic Rights §6 and family privileges. The government postulates to “[…] using a wide range of measures to overcome traditional role models that limit the chances of women and men realizing their potential62”. Most legal regulations and goals –prognosis-, cited in the definitional ‘gender’ chapter,
59 §3(c) Definitions, Istanbul Convention
60 Erläuternder Bericht zum Übereinkommen des Europarats zur Verhütung und Bekämpfung von Gewalt gegen
Frauen und häuslicher Gewalt, Memorundum, p.48
61 Lehmann 2008, N.9
62 Erläuternder Bericht zum Übereinkommen des Europarats zur Verhütung und Bekämpfung von Gewalt gegen
28 correcting such power imbalance- or the governmental prognosis- aim at lifting ‘woman’ and specifically mothers up to the potential of ‘man’ thus making ‘woman’ object to the standard ‘man’ socially poses.
Conclusively at this point ought to be remarked, that a woman’s matter in this communiqué without family can hardly be analyzed, especially that of the WDR- that the governmental measures to raise the woman’s needs here, does not seem to exists without the man’s reality; therefore, are laws enumerated and created to empower woman to the standard of man. The struggle connected to the ‘woman’ described in the memorandum, stems Eurocentrically and fails to define the conflicts of the diasporic reality the target group experiences63. This may be due to the fact that while social constructionism is an acknowledged social process, in both convention and communiqué, it does not include women with intersectional experiences, in most parts of its definition on gender. Instead both documents, find a binary definition of gender constructionism re-encapsulating the problem definition it initially states.
This constructed woman and her family, is safeguarded in German Basic Law §6 and thus by its heteronormative and Eurocentric conflicts in family and subsequent favorized model of a specific household. It interweaves the constructed woman’s rights with her family and husband.
Though woman and domestic abuse are a focal point of the convention, the emphasis put on woman within a family context in the communiqué, is only partly deductible to that. As can be seen from a legal and purely systematic perspective, woman is in Germany on the whole frequently termed in family.
II. Vulnerability and dependence, Women with a Dependent Residency; confined in their family
Woman with, to her spouse dependent residency is, in the German Federal Republic, like the ‘woman’ illustrated above, defined in the confinements of her family. Her legal existence is, by name, reliant on on the spouse and therefore dependent on the family. The dependency that describes her, brands her vulnerable and is the problem definition and illustration that both the convention and the government initially agree upon.
Thus, the Istanbul Convention states that “the implementation of the provisions […]in particular measures to protect the rights of victims, shall be secured without discrimination on
29 any ground […]64”, enumerating possible discriminatory characteristics, such as race, marital status, class, et cetera, again acknowledging the vulnerability of people of certain peer-groups. Germany further reasons that
“[…] partly because they [referring to by circumstances vulnerable made women] are less able to defend themselves due to the special circumstances [they are] more likely to be targeted by perpetrators of violence […] [according to the convention] like Migrants -
especially migrants […]65”.
The government concurs with the convention’s problem identification, the particular
vulnerability of migrant woman, though the foundation of discrimination differs; the convention’s primary mention is the systematic and political based discrimination that states partake in when implementing policies not aware of the discriminatory factors the convention enumerates.
Yet, the governments primary understanding of the article and example suggests individual, from the state independent, discrimination and diagnosis; illustrated is a violence against WDR by an anonymous from the state independent ‘perpetrator’.
Based on its systematic problem definition, the convention commences the chapter on migration with a prognosis and a demand, that:
“victims whose residence status depends on that of the spouse or partner as recognised by internal law, in the event of the dissolution of the marriage or the relationship, are granted in
the event of particularly difficult circumstances, upon application, an autonomous residence permit irrespective of the duration of the marriage or the relationship.66”
Prognosis within the convention is the undiscriminatingly handing out a residence permit, when ‘difficult circumstances’ apply, regardless of the longevity of marriage.
WDR victims shall, as well, be able to “obtain the suspension of expulsion proceedings67” when their spouse is being deported, to then apply for an independent resident permit.
64 §12(3) General Obligations, Istanbul Convention
65 Erläuternder Bericht zum Übereinkommen des Europarats zur Verhütung und Bekämpfung von Gewalt gegen
Frauen und häuslicher Gewalt, Memorundum, p.57
30 This specific article, too, is a message to the government and its powerful processes whereas simultaneously acknowledging again that bias in governmental rule has been and is a ‘circumstance’ that prejudices the target group. ‘Autonomy’ is a goal – the prognosis- the convention sets out for the women, both in article 59 paragraph one and two and an assignment for the ratifying states.
The means for which the convention asks the states to make residency possible, by Germany, is on humanitarian grounds, an all-encompassing residency, and a in the communique overtly addressed discrepancy between convention and federal law. Hence, the German government breaks apart with the initial convention’s problem prognosis, while staying on their course defining WDR and the processes through which she is helped within the ‘family-realm’. In the communiqué the government is embarking on a justification for the reservation of article 59 of the convention with a different frame, implicitly reinforcing the picture of the in the law addressed woman, in her family:
“The […] autonomous residence permit for the spouse who is a victim of domestic violence is covered by the rules on residence permits for family reasons 68”
Within the memorandum the government states that in case of domestic abuse and accordingly hardship, spouses can obtain an independent residence permit as stated by §31 and family law.
This autonomy or independence she attains after through a process having proven, with doctor’s attestations, witnesses, the domestic abuse she claims has underwent.
The process, which she can begin after she has proven her integrative achievements in Germany, according to Lower Saxony’s ministry of health and equality; Once government judges that she may be better integrated back in her country of origin, expulsion processes can be initiated69.
‘Autonomous’, in the quote above, as well describes a legal target and goal directed at WDR by the government, similarly to that of the convention. Yet, another independence is mentioned in the memorandum, one to describe the residency title’s independence of the privilege to bring
68 Erläuternder Bericht zum Übereinkommen des Europarats zur Verhütung und Bekämpfung von Gewalt gegen
Frauen und häuslicher Gewalt, Memorundum, p.95
31 family from one’s home country to Germany, another break to the convention’s prognosis of an encompassing independent residency.
This means to say, that when established that domestic abuse occurred, and independent residency is obtained, the woman’s family from abroad cannot be necessarily brought to Germany.
Emergence of adverse problem identifications, and to the convention’s altered illustration of the to the spouse, in residency, dependent woman
Two distinct problem identifications have surfaced in the end of the analysis above, which this segment will take in inquiry into; the mistrusted woman with dependent residency and migration. Allowing independent residency, according to§27 of the residence act ‘principle of family reunification’ means that WDR and her legal certainty in Germany is framed around her family, in dependence to her spouse. Her privileges too, hence:
“[…]to establish and maintain a family cohabitation in Germany (family reunion) is issued and extended to protect marriage and family in accordance with Article 6 of the Basic Law70”
Though Basic Law privileges apply to WDR and her family also, the prerequisites to ‘apply’ for the same legal certainty and systematic trust, differ. The security of the same existential right of a ‘normative’ family applies when WDR has proven the authenticity of her marriage as opposed to a scam marriage, has proven that she or spouse can financially provide, when it is proven she is no extremist danger to Germany, „if there is no interest in deportation and if he or she has sufficient knowledge of the German language”71. The federal German Government continues its justification of the article, that:
“The respective residence permits differ both in terms of the conditions and the legal consequences. […] A residence permit for humanitarian reasons generally entitles the holder
to privileged family reunification, whereas a residence permit for family reasons does not […].72”
70 §27(1) Principle of family reunification, Act on the Residence, Gainful Employment and Integration of
Foreigners in the Federal Territory (Residence Act - AufenthG)
71 §27(1&3(a)) § 28, §31 Principle of family reunification
72 Erläuternder Bericht zum Übereinkommen des Europarats zur Verhütung und Bekämpfung von Gewalt gegen
32 Humanitarian reasons would allow asylum to ‘safeguard political interest’ of Germany73, no further qualifications needed, and thus postulate an all-inclusive residency permit.
WDR is not only a woman confined legally, socio-politically, and by pure name in her family, she is also a migrant, and by §27, §22, §31 of the residency act, connected to an overall suspicion -possible link to a to the state hurtful organization, no financial profit - and thus uncertainty for her.
She has to adhere to the standards raised by the government for existential eligibility, for herself and her family. Her livelihood is based on her ability to prove herself and adhere to Eurocentric ideas of women and family. It is a form of mistrust, in their ability to integrate, their capability to financially profit the state. The notion to legally bind woman with dependent residency and her extensive family to various migrational requisites to attain the same trust by the state, is concurrently a judgment and argument against ‘migration’. Not the least is she thus linked to a perceived threat to the government.
It is the state’s fear of ‘endanger by migration’ through her family and her; a change in problem definition, in which the question ‚whose problem is it?’ can no longer be answered with ‚woman with a dependent residency ‘, but with ‘the Federal Government’ itself. ‘Migration endangers the government’ is the problem, which the state in the communiqué mentions in various instances highlighting the difference between humanitarian and family law and hence privileged family reunion.
The prognosis is a compromise; To renegotiate the definition and protection of type of family, that is connected to mistrust and doesn’t fit entirely into the Eurocentric discourse in which gender is differently fought out and dissimilar experienced. An objective is to navigate the convention’s problem identification of the systematic made vulnerable woman with dependent residency, and to finally regulate and communicate careful migration policymaking.
Conversely this compromise of these terms and prognosis requires to illustrate WDR in a threatening light, contradicting the ‘vulnerability by system’ identification. This type of illustration and following processes, in a woman’s narrative, may cause ‘traumatizing’ events, for the means to which the state handles her experiences and acknowledges her conflicts with domestic abuse is an integral part of her experiences with violence in Germany74.
73 §22 Admission from abroad, Act on the Residence, Gainful Employment and Integration of Foreigners in the
Federal Territory (Residence Act - AufenthG)
III. The Illustration’s significance on WDR and domestic abuse
Woman in her need to belong, to a state or family, who is denied in both, through domestic abuse and governmental discriminatory practices, may live in a torn diasporic narrative and a belonging-crisis 75. When the woman claims her own right to exist independently of that of her husband, due to domestic abuse, the existential safety of a family no longer applies, her survival strategy omits76.
The legal protection she had through her husband drops and legal and emotional uncertainty instead due to a testing process in domestic abuse cases develops7778. From proving the authenticity of her family before her marital aversion process, she now needs to prove that “[…] it is unreasonable to expect the spouse to continue the marital cohabitation […]79”.
Substantiating her claims of domestic abuse is an objectively challenging procedure, as well for a woman without resident dependency, it is even more so for WDR with interrelatedly more conflicts affiliated. Additionally, to proving domestic abuse, she is bound to be tested for her to Germany integrative capability, in connection to, for instance, the to the state financial burden/ threat she poses:
“In order to prevent abuse, the extension of the residence permit may be refused if the spouse is dependent on benefits under the Second or Twelfth Book of the Social Code for a reason for
which he or she is responsible80”
Discourse theory states that discourse does not generate in a vacuum, but an already existing net of connected terms to values. This net, according to feminist discourse theory, is intrinsically based around a white cis male privileged system81. A woman with dependent residency, in Germany, is as well linked to, as shown in the quote above, a systematic inherent distrust against her, a discursive net of values and notions of migration, migrants and eventually her.
75 Lehmann, 2008, N. 9 76 Lehmann, 2008, N. 9 77 Lehmann, 2008, N. 9
78 Bmjv.de. 2015. Mehr Schutz Bei Häuslicher Gewalt, N. 35 79 §31(2) Residency Act
34 The state resumes its problem definition, in the citation above ‘abuse of the system of Germany’ by financial exploitation, once more illustrating the state a target and conversely the spouse, here WDR, the perpetrator or the ‘responsible’ of ‘abuse’; she is the defined problem here. Though §31 (2) from which the quote is part of, aims at supporting WDR who is a victim of domestic abuse, it reinforces the notion of an untrustworthy, suspiciously regarded woman and migrant; the quote shows that a woman with dependent residency in addition to proving her victimhood, she is obligated to realize integrative expectancies.
Being tested as a woman claiming domestic abuse, and a migrant, entails when demanding her own right to exist independently of that of her husband she is primarily treated as a migrant, connected to migrant responsibilities, discourse, requirements and values.
The time in which the convention was officially ratified, is simultaneously a phase of conflict with migration. The incidents of the abuse of Migrant men towards women on New Year’s Eve 2015/ 2016, may have swayed the government to increase safety for women and victims of sexual abuse, but it may as well have played a part in the reservation of Article 59, and subsequent safeguarding of women with dependent residency and domestic abuse.
At that time, stricter rules for residency permits have been expressed; The socio-political context, by this analysis, may explain one link between the reservation of Article 59 and migrant women.
A woman with dependent residency in her process to autonomy, is consistently questioned as a woman, and as a ‘proper’ migrant, while in the procedure being confronted with an intrinsic distrust against her.
In the previous sections, I have provided a discursive illustration of woman, woman with dependent residency, and roughly demonstrated the portrayal of governmental discourse of WDR in context of domestic abuse, in the analyzed memorandum. It has been shown, that the processes with which a woman, with dependent residency in connection to domestic abuse claims, is met with is deeply interweaved with current discourse on migration.
35 findings of the previous segments which the conclusion will too, though this segment will to then use articulation theory, to deduce new possible meaning.
Articulation proposes, discourse is according to the context it is framed within. In it, empty signifiers such as ‘woman’, ‘migrant’, ‘man’ ‘threat’, ‘benefit’, et cetera, connect, are filled with values, and generate meaning constantly. Indefinite truths are the result, in this instance, unlimited re-articulations of the Woman with dependent residency.
At the outset, woman, displayed in this analysis, is naturally framed within ‘family’. She is not only safeguarded by the family, §6 of the German Basic Law, woman is defined within it- through ministry and governmental texts. Laws in response to the problem identification of woman, thus must be, according to this theory, framed within a specific family perspective, and within a particular understanding of ‘woman’ to that the goals and measures answer to. In the German heteronormative milieu, with its diagnosis and prognosis, the government simultaneously frames woman in dependence to man and paradigmatically leaves out the women not fitting the norm. Being a woman too, the woman with dependent residency is defined within family, though furthermore is brought in connection with migrant biographies, alongside with collective feelings connected to migration and contextual dependent collective social experiences with migration, like that of the New Year’s Eve today is.
Existing discursive articulation has linked stances on migration to the woman with dependent residency and produced, a to be viewed with suspicion, representation of her.
This picture also is a re-compromised picture of the defined ‘woman’ overall and the measures and goals she enjoys. Thus, the WDR is caught in a constant investigation of her life, her marriage, integration – German skills, financial threat or benefit- and her claims of domestic abuse through a challenging process, simultaneously running counter to the public image of her and her own narrative of a conflicted diasporic life82.
In any case, the WDR’s conflicts in and out of family, fails to comply with conflicts that ‘woman’ is linked to and thus seems to drop out of the common prognosis, to empower women to the standard of men. Instead articulation theory proposes, that when the context and association of concepts is within a migrational context prognosis follows suite83; current processes are only partly to empower her but aim to test her integrative skills and credibility. 82 Lehmann, 2008, N. 9