Every third woman experiences violence in her lifetime. While many are silent, Katy Karrenbauer vividly describes her experiences.
“He could have done anything to me, he could also have killed me – I didn’t care,” remembers Katy Karrenbauer (58) of her violent childhood friend. The actress speaks vividly about her dramatic experiences in the new TV series “Im Angesicht”. The new True Crime format from Crime + Investigation documents conversations with prominent guests who report first-hand about their experiences with true crimes or the judiciary or who campaign for prevention.
“In the face: Katy Karrenbauer” is from November 25, the International Day against Violence against Women and Girls, on the on-demand channel “Crime + Investigation Play” on Amazon Prime, Apple and ScreenHits TV as well as on the station’s homepage retrievable. The TV premiere on Crime + Investigation will follow on January 16, 2022. All five episodes will then be shown in succession from 8:15 pm. In addition to Karrenbauer, Martin Semmelrogge, Helmut Zierl, Eva Habermann and Michel Guillaume can also be seen. In an interview, Karrenbauer explains how much they still burden the experiences they had back then.
While many women are silent about their experiences with domestic violence, you describe your experiences openly and honestly in the interview series “Im Angesicht”. What made you do it?
Katy Karrenbauer: Last year I was part of the large, nationwide campaign “Silence makes you defenseless” for the “White Ring” against domestic violence. When I received the request for “In the Face”, I initially thought I was talking about this important topic in more general terms. However, I had already written my story about this in my second book, so it is not one that I am bringing to light here.
Do you find it hard to talk about it and think back on those painful memories?
Karrenbauer: Only if I get involved and get emotionally “caught” – as I felt during the interview in between. These memories are burned into me. They were humiliating and hurtful, both physically and emotionally, and greatly influenced my self-esteem at the time. I was still very young, it was my first boyfriend and of course in retrospect I wish none of that had ever happened. But we all cannot turn back the wheel. We can help, however, that other women are spared it or at least offer help if they encounter domestic violence, you or a family member, a neighbor, a friend.
You were 14 years old when you got together with your then boyfriend. How long were you in a relationship with him, did his violence emerge at an early age?
Karrenbauer: I was with him for 3.5 years and the “first blow” hadn’t become apparent for me beforehand. Sometimes it was frustration, sometimes jealousy, or I hadn’t done what he wanted. However, his father beat him too, and I think that by being exposed to domestic violence himself, he passed it on to me. After the afternoon we met, he had his first black eye. I remember how stunned I was.
You vividly describe how he dragged you off the dance floor after going to the disco and spat you in the face. That hurt you more than any blows, why?
Karrenbauer: It’s very simple, I loved him. At least that’s what I thought, and he had good things about himself. At the time, however, my heart did not understand why he was doing all this. In my eyes I hadn’t done anything bad, I just went to the disco and danced. But he had made a promise to the others and he was now keeping that. When he spat at me outside the door, threatened me and his face was very close to mine, and I could see this incredible anger and hatred, in that moment my love for him died. But most of all, I became very calm and cool inside. I wasn’t afraid of him anymore. Maybe that saved me from his fists that evening. He could have done anything to me, he could have killed me too – I didn’t care. I don’t think I gave up on myself, but on him. That was the last moment my soul was exposed to him. From then on he couldn’t reach or break me inside. And he felt that.
They believed at the time: “A person I love cannot be bad”. What ultimately made you rethink?
Karrenbauer: Maybe that ultimately you can only look people in front of the head. First the togetherness, the shared experiences show what kind of person the other person really is.
How did you ultimately escape this relationship?
Karrenbauer: He had to go to the Bundeswehr and was gone for a while. Then he made it really easy for me by making me wait on the platform when he was finally free. The last train arrived without him because he cheated on me somewhere again, as someone told me on the platform.
Have you ever experienced violence in a relationship again?
Karrenbauer: No. Whoever raises their hand against me can leave immediately. No ifs and buts. Even before he strikes. Or I’ll go There is no excuse for that!
“As long as I can remember, I have been helping to save other women from this fate,” you explain in the interview. What does this commitment look like?
Karrenbauer: I have been campaigning against violence against women since my youth, have taken part in various campaigns and charity events, brought women into women’s shelters who were afraid of their husbands, collected money and get involved wherever I am needed I believe that I can help prevent injustice from happening.
In many places, domestic violence is still a taboo subject, why is this where people still look the other way?
Karrenbauer: I always advocate “looking instead of looking the other way”, but some people like to be voyeurs here and there, but are reluctant to interfere because they could possibly be part of the consequences. For example, the other night late at night I followed a woman’s scream that sounded awful. I was thinking of rape, or at least assault. But it was only a harmless situation that the girl cleared up. I then let them know that such a scream can set people like me in motion because you think someone is in danger and needs help.
The number of cases of domestic violence has increased in times of Corona. Are there enough points of contact for those looking for help?
Karrenbauer: I know a few contact points, but I am sure that they are not enough. And of course there are women who cannot use a cell phone unnoticed, cannot simply dial a number or meet someone who will advise them. Once a young Turkish woman, veiled, came up to me in Karstadt when I was standing at the cash register. She stood next to me, came very close, lifted her veil and whispered in my ear: “I would like to be as strong as you!” Then she reattached the veil and left. Such moments are always in my memory.
What can those affected or their relatives do if they experience / observe violence in partnerships?
Karrenbauer: Look, open your mouth! Help or offer help! Openly or secretly! Look instead of looking away!