German UN-WORD of 2012….Opfer Abo ( victim ticket)


The source:

The aim: a more sensitive use of language in public communication

The language-critical action “word of the year” is to promote the awareness of language and language awareness in the population. She draws attention to objectively unreasonable or inhumane formulations in public parlance in order to encourage critical reflection of everyday language

The story behind the winner:

The former T.V. weather-man Jörg Kachelmann was arrested in 2010 for allegedly raping a woman with whom he had an intimate relationship.  His trial in 2011 was widely televised, a lot of information about his life away from the cameras was scrutinized and when he was acquitted of the charge, his one-time steep career was long over.  Too many murky details of his preferences and private life became subject to discussions in the general population(like gossip/rumor/dirty laundry about stars or royals often is).

Nothing however damaged his image as much as the statement that when talking about rape, women hold the victim ticket…In an interview with Spiegel, he claimed that we live in a society where the justice system condemns men and that we live in times where falsified  charges of abuse, sexual harassment and rape are a new mass phenomenon.  Women use slander as a popular and effective weapon, using the victim ticket:  Women are always victims, even if they have become perpetrators…

My opinion in general:

I would like to differentiate a little between the regular rapist and the high ranking rapists, men in positions of power, like our wee weatherman, the Mike Tysons and the Strauss Kahns of the world, who think that they are untouchable because of their positions(and claim like Kachelmann, that they are being victimized by cold calculating vixens). 

Phrases like victim ticket or a statement by a Canadian law enforcement officer that if a woman dresses a certain way, she is asking for it(which resulted in world wide Slut Walk protest marches) should be used to bring about a more critical look at how our society perceives women, or to re-word it, how women are observed and branded in the eyes of men and sometimes even by their fellow women.

My opinion on the source:

I believe the goal of this organization and its communicative aim is totally lost on the masses.   To most it is just a new word/phrase that finds its ways into speech or perhaps later into dictionaries, without ever realizing that it was meant to be looked at in a negative or critical way.

It  should not reward or award (anyone with)an Unwort of the year, which (who) blatantly disregards women and give t(his) distorted view a stage from which it can be promoted.  The world needs terms which will enhance respect and comprehension between the sexes, not expressions that widen the adverse and dehumanizing attitude towards women.


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