Frequent doubts

I don’t know if I want to leave my husband/partner

You don’t need to be separated from your partner to come to the women’s shelter. Your stay here is an opportunity to rest and think calmly about your situation. If you wish, our staff is here to listen to and assist you. You decide how long you stay in the women’s shelter and are free to return home at any time.

I am too tired and will never make it.

Being constantly confronted with violence is extremely exhausting and makes you feel tired, sad, and hopeless. Because many women* in abusive relationships are degraded by their husbands or family, they lack confidence in themselves.
At the women’s shelter they can regain their strength and self-reliance. They can solve their problems step by step and take life into their own hands again. If you wish, we will assist you.

What will my friends, family, and neighbors think?

Women* often feel shame because of the violence they and their children are suffering. They think they are to blame for it, but in reality, only the abuser is to blame. Don’t let yourself be talked into feeling guilty for someone else’s behavior.

I have no money. How can I start a new life?

If you have no money, the shelter staff will refer you to the Jobcenter / Social Welfare Office, where you can apply for benefits. We will also help you find housing.

I don’t speak German.

Some staff members of the BORA Women’s Shelter are fluent in languages other than German. For other languages, we use women interpreters to be able to communicate with you.
We can also refer you to integration courses, where you can learn about German everyday language, customs, and culture.

Is the women’s shelter a safe house for abused wives only?

No, although the majority of the sheltered women* escape from their husbands or partners, women* seeking shelter from a mother, father, girlfriend, or pimp are also welcome at the shelter. In some cases, a stranger or a stalker may be threatening you.

Violence does not only mean that you have suffered physical abuse. Many women* at the shelter have been insulted, threatened, and locked in.
It is also a form of violence if someone says to you:

  • “You‘re not allowed to see your friends again”
  • “You‘re not allowed to have own money”
  • “You’re not allowed to look at other men”
  • “I will take the children away from you”
  • “I will have you deported”
  • “I will kill you”

Can I get a divorce? Can I keep the children? Will I have to leave Germany?

Once a week, the BORA Counseling Center offers legal advice. Here you can get additional information on getting a divorce.

We can recommend good female lawyers, if you wish.
In some cases, the residence status of a woman* is linked to her partner’s citizenship. For these issues we can refer you to male and female specialists in law related to asylum and foreigners.

Violence is a crime. If you are being abused by your partner, for instance, you may report them to the police for domestic violence. The same is true for anyone else you are living with, such as a mother or father. Threats, humiliation, and sexual violence are also punishable crimes. We will support you if you decide to file criminal charges.

More information on criminal proceedings in cases of domestic violence can be found in the “Jetzt erst Recht” brochure (in German). You may download the PDF here.

Can I do this to my children, bringing them to a women’s shelter?  

Many mothers worry that their child might feel strange at the shelter, become homesick, or unhappy. In fact, most children get used to living at the shelter quite quickly and make new friends here. Together, they can enjoy our large playground and children’s area. Female childcare workers offer leisure activities for them.

Domestic violence also impacts children. Even children who have not been physically abused suffer and, therefore, need professional help. The BORA Women’s Shelter provides professional child educators to work with your children. Each child is assigned one contact person from the pedagogical staff who is responsible for their welfare throughout their stay.

I don’t know if I want to go to a women’s shelter.

Staying at a women’s shelter is not “the end”, a “social disgrace”, or “defeat”. It is a beginning, a turning point in the life of each woman.
If you are unsure whether the women’s shelter is the right place for you, call our Counseling Center for Women. You can call anonymously and are under no obligation whatsoever. Our coworkers can also help you if you decide not to come to the women’s shelter. You are also able to think through your life at home, and the counselors will help you to protect yourself and your children.

What does a women’s shelter look like? 

Because the location of our shelter is kept strictly confidential, it is not possible to come by and take a look around before moving in.