Daily: When victims end silence, violence stops

NEWS 27.01.2021 11:33
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More than 30 cases of sexual harassment have been reported over the past ten days and police have launched preliminary investigations at Zagreb's Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Vecernji List daily says, noting that exposing sexual violence is very important as violence stops when victims speak up.

Three years after an avalanche of reports about sexual harassment in the United States brought down dozens of powerful men who for years had been abusing their power, the trend has been spreading to this region as well, says the daily in its Wednesday edition.

The trend started with actresses in Serbia reporting cases of sexual harassment, and it has now spilled over to the entire region, resulting in an online initiative called #nisamTražila (I did not ask for it), a group that has thousands of members and unites a growing number of women who have been victims of sexual harassment and abuse.

Reports are being submitted on a daily basis, and in the past ten days, according to Gender Equality Ombudswoman Visnja Ljubicic, more than 30 cases of sexual harassment have been reported.

Most of the reports refer to sexual harassment in the field of work and employment, the ombudswoman says.

On the other hand, even though courts do not keep an official or precise record of such cases, according to the ombudswoman’s information, the number of sentencing verdicts is very low, only a few annually.

The legislative framework is not offering an adequate level of protection in practice, Ljubicic says, describing as too slow and too uncertain court protection via private lawsuits against employers who do not remove unlawful and discriminatory conduct.

Experts underline that exposing sexual violence is very important from several aspects.

“When the victims speak up, violence ends. Also, it is important for victims to find the strength to speak up because they do not dare do it for a long time due to strong fear, and their speaking up contributes to their recovery. The third aspect is prosecution,” says psychologist Marijana Senjak of the Women’s Room nongovernmental organisation.

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