Czechs don’t take sexual violence and harassment seriously

According to Eurobarometer, the Czech public does not believe sexual violence and harrassment are widespread in their country. However, the data tells a different story.

Sofija Kordic
Sofija Kordic NewsMavens, Czechia
Czechs don’t take sexual violence and harassment seriously - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

Czech journalist Silvie Lauder joined the #MeToo campaign.

She spoke with victims of sexual harassment and violence. “This was a big relief for them because they found out, thanks to the hashtag MeToo, that they were not alone”, says Lauder.

The other hope from this campaign was that the Czech public would realize that gendered violence is a big problem in Czechia, and that it is important to talk about this isue.

However, Lauder claims that the scale of sexual harassment that takes place in Czech society is underestimated. The fundamental problem is ignorance, but not only on the part of ordinary citizens. “People who influence public opinion: politicians, writers, journalists and judges, suffer from a very deep and fundamental ignorance,” says Lauder. One very well-known example is Jaroslav Kubera, president of the Senate, the Upper Chamber of the Czech Parliament, who claimed that the #MeToo movement is an eccentricity of our times.

Details from the story:

  • “Almost all women I spoke with had someone in their immediate circle who had experienced sexual harassment or violence," says Lauder.
  • Women who went to the court often encountered unpleasant reactions from the police or judiciary officials
  • Lauder praises French President Emmanuel Macron's statement on sexual harassment as one of the most serious problems of our times, noting that nothing similar happens in Czechia where politicians either don’t talk about the problem or if they do, they underestimate it or make untrue statements.
  • President of the Upper Chamber of the Czech Parliament Kubera doesn’t believe in the statistics of sexual harassment and violence; he sees that as an “intentional exaggeration on the part of ultra-feminists in order to profit from it.”
  • Having in mind the level of Czech public discourse on sexual harassment, it is no wonder that people don’t have a sense of the importance of the problem, concludes Lauder 
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