A life inside a closed school with a system of sexual abuse

German authorities have published a full report on sexual abuse at the Odenwald schooL -- a prestigious private educational institution where hundreds of girls and boys were sexually abused.

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
A life inside a closed school with a system of sexual abuse - NewsMavens
Odenwaldschule, YouTube

Why this story matters:

Adrian Koerfer a former student at the Odenwald school, talked to Die Zeit about his experience of abuse at the elite school. He calls it "hell", and describes, in detail, the abuse: how the teachers would shower together with the students, or how his music teacher, who took him into his "family" at the school and pimped the boys out to his friend on school trips. 

The protagonist of this interview is a man, and, for a long time, it was believed that the teachers of Odenwald only abused boys and that the girls had not been abused. Now, however, we know that girls were victims too, and some even became pregnant after being raped by a teacher.

His experiences are important to listen to because they reveal the typical behavior patterns of an abused child. He never reported it because he feared he wouldn't be trusted and he's still living with the consequences of his trauma. He suffers from insomnia and nightmares, and cannot develop close and trusting relationships with other people. A story like this is worth reading because Odenwald school is an example of a closed-off community with a steep hierarchy, where a "system" of abuse really can flourish. 

Details from the story:

  • Odenwald was a prestigious boarding school in Hesse, west of Germany, which existed since 1910.
  • In the late 1990s, several former students reported many cases of sexual abuse by several teachers and the headmaster. An investigation was opened, that went on for several years, and eventually led to the closure of the school in 2015 after all the sponsors withdrew their money.
  • This year, the University of Rostock has published 500-pages long research report into the case, that showed that the headmaster had constructed a network to facilitate child abuse and that he deliberately hired teachers who would support him. Some of them -- like the music teacher, who abused many boys, and also pimped them out, didn't even have any training as teachers. 
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