September 1, 2016
A website run by a subdivision of Germany’s health ministry is providing information on sexuality, sexual violence and reproductive health to newly-arrived immigrants.
The multilingual website offers users detailed information on family planning, relationships, legal rights and sexuality. Sub-sections include ‘Kinds of sex’, ‘Good sex’ and ‘Homosexuality’.
In a series of colourful and comprehensive cartoons, the guide illustrates different sexual positions and comes off as not so much sexual advice but a ‘how to” guide.
On the face of things, the website is similar to those provided by other health ministries in Europe, like the UK’s NHS and Italy’s Ministry of Health, which also provide information of this nature.
But an introductory video, found in the ‘For professionals’ sub-section of the website and available only in German, says that it is for “migrants who have not been living long in Germany”.
Other sub-sections like ‘Honour-based violence’, a social phenomenon that is mostly absent from Western European culture, indicate that the site has, at least partly, been designed with immigrants and refugees in mind.
Last year, Germany welcomed over 1 million refugees, the majority of which were fleeing the ongoing civil war in Syria. On New Year’s Eve, the city of Cologne was rocked by a series of sexual assaults in which hundreds of women reported either being raped or groped, as well as numerous thefts.
The site also includes instructions on how to install a shortcut to the site on smartphones, which could be seen as information aimed at young people or also at refugees and immigrants, many of whom only have access to the web via mobile devices.
The online portal is run by Zanzu, which is a division of the BZgA (Federal Centre for Health Education), which is in turn in the German health ministry’s portfolio.