The rape case that has shaken Poland

The survivor has recently spoken out about the aftermath of an infamous 2013 case. Aleksandra has never received financial compensation. She was mistreated by the police and ostracized, then falling into depression and self-harm.

Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko NewsMavens, Poland
The rape case that has shaken Poland - NewsMavens
Man. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

When this story (details below) circulated in the media six years ago, it exposed the profoundly inappropriate treatment of rape survivors by Poland’s police and judiciary.

During a court hearing, the defenders asked Aleksandra about the size of the offender’s penis and his body hair. They also wanted to know what she was wearing and how much she had drunk that night. Her statement was not recorded, so she had to repeat it many times later. The perpetrators received shockingly mild sentences.

“The rape was just the beginning,” Aleksandra recently told “Wysokie Obcasy” magazine. “We think that it would be the most difficult moment, but later comes a second rape -- of your psyche, and then another one -- of your family.”

Although the case caused public outrage, in Aleksandra’s social and professional circle the reaction was often less empathetic. She suffered from exclusion, victim-blaming, feelings of guilt and shame. She speaks candidly about confronting the stereotype of a rape survivor. People expected her not to laugh, have a drink or look good after what had happened. The defenders even used the fact that she didn’t cry in court as an argument against her.

“We expect so much from the survivor and so little from the perpetrator,” she commented.

Today, she feels that confronting the police was worse than the rape itself and regrets having reported the crime. It brought her more harm than help. Can there be a more brutal testimony to the failure of the state in fighting sexual violence?

Details from the story:


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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