My parents taught me that a good woman should marry a man. Then she can have children. But I don’t want to get married. Am I a good woman?

In Germany, people live together in many different ways.
Here are a few examples:
Some men and women are married and have children.
Some men and women have children and are NOT married.
Some men and women are married and have NO children.

Some couples are separated or divorced.
That means that they have ended their relationship.
Some of these couples have children.
The children might then live with their mother or their father.

Some men and women are homosexual.
They might be in a relationship with a person of the same gender.
Some people live in shared accommodation.
That means that they live together but are not in a relationship or a family.
Lots of men and women also live alone when they are adults.

Everyone can decide how they want to live.
All of these options are permitted in Germany.
Nobody in these examples is good or bad.
And nobody may be discriminated against or prosecuted for this behaviour.
It’s okay if you don’t want to get married.
You are not a bad woman.

My friend and I are 17 years old. She told me that she is in love with a girl. I don’t know what to think. How should I behave?

Behave just as you did before.
She is in love with someone of the same gender.

If you are in love with someone of a different gender, that is called heterosexual.
If you are in love with someone of the same gender, that is called homosexual.
Homosexual girls are also called lesbian.
Homosexual boys are also called gay.
Nobody can choose how they feel.
Some people fall in love with people of either gender.
If you are sometimes homosexual and sometimes heterosexual, that is called bisexual.
This is completely normal.
There are many different ways to be together with someone.
But unfortunately, not all of them are accepted in some countries.

Many girls and boys find it difficult to be homosexual.
Your friend probably finds it difficult to tell people.
That needs a lot of courage.
That shows that your friend trusts you.

You may not be able to understand why she is in love with a girl.
You don’t have to understand.
What’s important is that your friend is still the same person.
You might be afraid that she is in love with you.
But that usually isn’t true.
You can still be friends as normal.
You can listen to her and have fun with her.
Your friend will hopefully remain your friend.
It’s great to have a good friend.

I am a 16-year-old girl and I have already had sex and am no longer a virgin. In my family this is considered a violation of honour. I’m frightened of my family finding out. What can I do?

This must be a very worrying situation for you.
It is therefore important that you understand
that honour has different meanings in different cultures.

In Germany, a person might be considered dishonourable
if they do not respect the laws and regulations
or if they hit or rape women and children.
It can be honourable to help someone when they need help and protection.

In some cultures people understand honour differently.
Sometimes honour means that a girl should remain a virgin until marriage.
Or that girls and boys should marry a person chosen by their families.
But these decisions should be made by you alone.
It is your personal right!
Nobody is allowed to violate your rights.

You can get help if your family thinks otherwise and puts you under pressure.
It is not ok for your family to pressure you about your virginity.
You can get help via these websites:

http://www.scheherazade-hilft.de/

http://www.imma.de/einrichtungen/fachstelle-zwangsheirat/kontakt.html

https://profamilia.sextra.de/pages/sextra/beratung/onlineberatung/fragen/

http://www.fpz-berlin.de/

I am a 13-year-old boy and during my journey to this country I travelled with two men. They did disgusting and painful things to me. Am I now a homosexual?

A homosexual is someone who loves someone of their own sex.

A boy who loves another boy.
Or a girl who loves another girl.
These people can have sex together if they want to.
Homosexuals are also called gay if they’re boys or lesbian if they’re girls.

You didn’t want to do those things.
This is called sexual abuse.
This is prohibited. Adults who abuse children can be severely punished.

Read this little story.
You climb a tree and sit on a branch.
Suddenly a man climbs up and pushes you off the branch.
You injure yourself and it hurts.
It’s not your fault that you fell off.
The man pushed you.
You climb the tree again. There is nobody there.
You don’t fall from the branch.
You can stay sitting on that branch or climb onto another branch.
Just because you were pushed once, that does not mean you will always fall off the tree.

This means that sexual abuse by a man does not make you gay.
You will find out yourself later if you are gay or not.
You will know when you fall in love with someone.

There is a nice security guard who works at my sheltered accommodation. He helps me and lets me do lots of things. But yesterday he repeatedly touched my body. I don’t like that. What should I do?

You might think
that the security guard is looking out for you.
He helps you and lets you do lots of things.
Maybe he won’t help you any more if you complain.
You don’t know who to talk to about it.

If the security guard is helping you that is his decision.
But it is not ok if he does something you don’t like.
You are the one who decides who can touch you.

There are lots of people who help you.
You only need to thank them and nothing more.
If someone honestly wants to help you,
they won’t do anything you don’t like.

It’s good to talk to someone about it.
You can talk to the social workers in your sheltered accommodation.
Or talk to people at an advice centre.
Find advice centres via these websites:
http://www.zanzu.de/de/hilfe-beratung

https://www.hilfeportal-missbrauch.de/nc/adressen/hilfe-in-ihrer-naehe/kartensuche.html?tx_nxshelpdesk_helpdesk[institutionType]=21

I have large debts from my journey to this country. I’m supposed to work them off and I’m frightened. Who can help me?

Many girls have similar problems.
They wanted to work in Europe as babysitters or hairdressers.
They often have large debts after their journey.
They are supposed to work to pay off these debts.
These girls are forced into a job they do not want to do.

Some manage to escape.
But they are often unable to tell their story.
They are frightened
that something bad might happen to them and their families if they reveal anything.

Are you in a similar situation?
Have you also sworn not to tell anyone?
At SOLWODI there are women who work to help women and girls in need.
You can tell them your story.
Get in touch with them and they will help you to find a solution.

SOLWODI Munich: 089/27275859
For all other locations: www.solwodi.de

Text: SOLWODI Munich

I (13 years old) have blood in my underwear. Am I sick?

It’s more than likely you have had your first ‘period’.
Some families and countries actually celebrate this.
It means: you are growing up.

‘Having your period’ means:
The blood in your underwear comes from your vagina.
The vagina leads to a small cavity in your abdomen.
This cavity is called a womb.
There are two ovaries next to the womb.
There is a fallopian tube between each ovary and the womb.
Roughly once a month a tiny little egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube.

Now you could become pregnant.
However, in order for this to happen, you would have to have sex with a man or a teenage boy.
But you are still too young for that.
Next, the egg would be ‘fertilised’ by his semen and that means you would be pregnant.
The egg could grow in the womb.
As you are not pregnant the blood comes out of your vagina.
From now on roughly once a month the blood is rinsed out of your womb.
It takes a few days.

You can get sanitary towels or tampons for the blood in the shops or from a chemist.
You place sanitary towels in your underwear.
You push tampons into your vagina.
Ask a girl friend or your mother if they can help you.
Sometimes you may experience bleeding for a long period of time or you may have strong pains.
If this is the case you should consult your doctor.

How do I know if I have HIV?

You cannot tell if someone has HIV.
Only a HIV test can tell you
if you have the HIV virus in your body or not.

You can take a HIV test at a Gesundheitsamt (health office).
The HIV test is free and anonymous.
You do not have to pay any money.
You do not have to give your name.
A doctor will take blood from you.
Then look for the HIV virus in your blood.

If there’s no HIV in your blood, then that’s good.
If you have HIV in your blood, you will receive medications.
If you have HIV or AIDS, you should never have sex with others without condoms.
Otherwise you could infect the other person.

Text: AWO-Zentrum für Aidsarbeit Schwaben
www.zas-schwaben.de

I do NOT want to get HIV. What can I do? How can I protect myself?

If you use condoms correctly, you will not get HIV through having sex.
Condoms can be purchased in various places,
such as supermarkets, petrol stations or pharmacies.

Important: Do not use condoms which have been left in the sun.
Do not use old condoms.
Do not use broken condoms.

Use a condom when you want to have sex with a girl or boy.
Pull the condom over the penis.
Condoms provide good protection.

I have questions about HIV and AIDS. Who can I talk to?
If you have questions about HIV and AIDS, you can get help from an AIDSBERATUNGSSTELLE (AIDS Advice Centre) or AIDSHILFE (AIDS Support Centre).
These centres can be found in many towns and cities.
You do not have to pay and they will not talk to anyone else about your questions.

Text: AWO-Zentrum für Aidsarbeit Schwaben
www.zas-schwaben.de

I am 16 years old. A doctor asked me if I have HIV or AIDS. What is HIV? What is AIDS?

HIV and AIDS are two different things.
HIV is a virus.
A virus is hidden in your body and can make you ill.
AIDS is a disease which can be triggered by this virus.
If you have HIV in your body for a long time, you can get AIDS.
AIDS can kill you if it is not treated.

There are good medications which fight HIV.
These medications reduce the amount of HIV in your body.
So you cannot infect anybody with HIV.
And you do not get AIDS.
You can live for a long time with these medications.

In Germany you do not have to pay for these medications yourself.
Your health insurance will pay for HIV medications.
People with HIV can decide who they want to tell.
The law prohibits people from outing others.

Be careful and abide by the following:

  • Do not have sex with any other person without a condom (vaginal or anal sex).
  • Do not inject drugs. Using syringes and needles is dangerous. Do not pass on syringes or needles to others.
  • If you are bleeding or have an open wound, make sure that no foreign blood enters the wound.

Text: AWO-Zentrum für Aidsarbeit Schwaben
www.zas-schwaben.de