A House Ban On Domestic Violence

A pro bono side project I worked on for the old homeland: An initiative against domestic violence that works where abuse happens and intervention often cannot reach—by leveraging the power that lies in a house community.

Launched on and named after the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (Nov. 11) in 2020, “Section 25/11” is a revolutionary lease contract addendum that bans domestic violence from apartment buildings. To date, over 50 members of the German parliament have joined the cause, along with one of the country's largest a housing associations, BBU, owner of 1.1 million rental units in the Berlin area alone.

The addendum can be downloaded from the paragraph2511.de website and added to any lease contract by building owners and property managers. Participants receive a free toolkit with a plaque for the building facade and posters to hang inside the building. The posters include the 24/7 helpline number of our collaborator in this project, one of Germany's most prominent women's aid organizations.

With their signature, owners and neighbors accept a responsibility to report signs of domestic violence…as opposed to not getting involved in "other people's personal business." At the same time, the addendum signals victims that they are not isolated and alone, which increases the odds of them getting help.

The posters for the initiative work with real quotes from standard lease contracts that detail renters' duties or emergency measures and add variations of the question: what to do in cases of domestic violence?

“Pets are not allowed in this building."

But what about monsters?”

“Enter elevators at your own risk."

And what about one’s home?

"For questions regarding stairwell cleaning, please contact the janitor."

And what about questions regarding fear of one's partner?

Toolkit for residential buildings: posters and plaque