Geraldine Kemper believes that as a society we should learn to respond differently to victims of sexual violence. The presenter came to that conclusion during the making of the program Geraldine and the Women. The wrong questions are often asked about sexual violence, she says in conversation with NU.nl.
Kemper follows in Geraldine and the Women six victims of sexual assault during therapy treatments to overcome their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). During the recordings she learned that these traumas are also often caused by the reactions of the victim’s environment.
“We have to get rid of pointing the finger, asking victims why they went with the perpetrator or why they walked the street in a short skirt in the evening,” says Kemper.
“Victims are also sometimes accused of wanting to sleep with the perpetrator before. It is actually ridiculous that this is said. As if sexual violence is suddenly permitted. If you go home with someone and end up in bed, and you think about it anyway and want to go home, then you just have the right to leave. No one can touch you just like that. Everyone needs to understand that this is an intrusion on someone’s body. We can learn a lot about how we respond to victims’ stories . “
“It’s also a kind of self-defense to take the blame from the victim. As long as you remember that the victim did something to make it happen, you don’t have to accept that it can happen to anyone.”
Geraldine Kemper follows six women who go to therapy in Croatia after they have been victims of sexual violence. (Photo: RTL)
Shocked by the consequences of PTSD
Kemper admits that making the program did not leave her in the cold. She was shocked by how common sexual violence actually is. “I did not expect that. Normally you are not involved with that on a daily basis. I also started talking about it more with my friends and then you hear stories that they have not told before. Everyone knows someone who has experienced something like this. , and too little is said about that. “
“There are women who no longer dare to leave home at night. If I feel hungry after dark, I quickly go to the supermarket, but they can’t. ”
The consequences of sexual violence, which can manifest themselves through PTSD, were also drastic to see. “It not only affects their lives, it shapes it. For example, there are women who do not dare to leave the house at night. If I feel hungry when it is dark, I quickly go to the supermarket, but they cannot do that. Others can hardly be with a man in a room without tension. They sleep little, and lying or sitting in a certain position can already be a trigger. That is very intense. “
A listening ear from a distance
In the program Kemper enters into a conversation with the women who are undergoing therapy for their stress disorder. It was no easy task for the presenter, but she tried to stay close to herself in her approach. “I really entered the conversations as myself with the questions I had myself, just as someone else could sit on the couch with them.”
In addition, she was occasionally confronted with situations in which she did not know exactly how to respond. Then Kemper sat down with the therapists over lunch to discuss with them how best to anticipate this. She also spoke a lot with the small crew she worked with, in order to be able to give the fierce conversations a place themselves.
Kemper was told on the first day that she was not supposed to hug the women or put an arm around them, because it is important that they process the trauma themselves. “That goes against my nature, because I am actually cuddly, but you know why you do it. If there were silences now, it was okay. Listening without judgment is already so valuable.”
Geraldine and the Women can be seen every Sunday at 9.20 pm on RTL 4 from 18 October.