Assault, Verbal

Naama’s Story Finally Getting Heard

I was on vacation in Prague with my family. It was summer, and the city was filled with tourists. One evening we were hanging about in the city. On the way back to the hotel, we turned to a side street. My family walked a few steps before me, and I stopped to look at a store’s shopwindow. Three men, aging no more than 30, showed up behind me.
Call me naive, but I’m not afraid to walk the streets alone at night. Maybe it’s my belief that should anyone lay a hand on me, I will know how to react. I am usually not afraid, even though it was a foreign city with people everywhere.
My family continued on, and the three men approached me. One of them put his hand on my shoulders, one pressed himself against me, and the third stood and laughed. I can’t even recall what they were saying, probably some obscene remarks, something about my legs/tits/ass or whatever. I threw the man’s hand off of me and leaped a few steps forward, mumbling “don’t touch me”.

How paralyzing is it to know that when someone touches you, all you manage to do is mumble, and they just laugh back.

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Assault, Bullying, Sexism, Verbal

Letna Dog Walking Assault

Angela's Dogs



I left our house with our 2 little rescue doggies, kissed my husband goodbye and started up our street to Letna park. A man left the building next to ours in a rush. Missy, our tiny little rescue dog who was abused by bastards and has spent 4 months with us learning to trust humans, was on her long leash and up in front of me. This beast of a man bent down as he headed toward her, picked her up with 1 hand and threw her into the road… thank goodness there was not a car coming at that moment! In total shock I shouted to Tom, who was at the bottom of the street, he had turned to wave and seen Missy fly into the road! The guy was at the top of the street already, assumed I was shouting to him (as he had thought I was alone) and came rushing back at me with his fists clenched.

He arrived in front of me very angry just as Tom arrived next to me. He lowered his fists AND BEGAN SHAKING as he realised the big man who just ‘came out of the blue’ was with me! What a spineless coward! What followed was a lot of shouting from all of us to the effect of us: WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?… him: YOU STUPID LITTLE WOMAN WITH YOUR STUPID LITTLE DOGS BETTER NOT GET IN MY WAY AGAIN OR YOU WON’T LIKE WHAT I’LL DO TO YOU!!!!! us: THERE COULD HAVE BEEN A CAR COMING! him: SHAME THERE WASN’T!!!! When we ‘told him to go away’ he refused, claiming that I had called him back… I swiftly informed him that I was calling to my husband. He finally left TO GO TO HIS YOGA LESSON!!!!!!!!!!

We have informed the local police but there is nothing they can do! I feel worried about being on my own with our dogs on our own street, which happens everyday and so I would like to give his name to the police. We tried to find out who he was on facebook without referencing what happened (as we were unclear of the laws of naming etc.)



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Martina’s Ruined Walk in the Park

Contemplative Woman in Park

This happens way too often, and really pisses me off: men masturbating in public. Yesterday a guy in his 20s on rollerskates was masturbating facing me–no attempt to hide, of course–when I was walking through the Lanova [sic] park in Prague 1 midday.

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Assault, Stalking, Verbal

Anna’s Morning in Vinohrady

I was riding my bike to work at 9.45am when a car pulled up dangerously close to me (less than 10 cm) – the passenger leaned out the window and very forcefully slapped my ass while yelling something unclearly. The driver cut me off and continued to honk the horn as he drove down the street. Both men were in their mid-20s.

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Assault, Culture, General Story, Issues, Sexism

No, Sweetie, You Can’t Hit Women and I Don’t Care If It’s Easter!


My cultural and feminist angst came to a head this week in a major way. A significant, if not the main part of Czech Easter tradition consists of men running around with pomlázky (braided sticks) and whipping girls on the butt for fertility. They are rewarded with candy eggs but more often than not shots of 40% proof alcohol. Here is a guest post from two years ago which our HollaBack! mother site was kind enough to place on the homepage.

My partner and I were instructed last week to have our six-year-old son come to school with two pomlázky yesterday. Naturally, we refused and had a conversation with him about this tradition since we’re not Czech. We’re conflicted about causing offense to the people of the country where we happily live but also frustrated as it’s hard enough explaining many things to kids and it becomes even more difficult when certain things shouldn’t actually apply to you. Our son, I was quite pleased, looked horrified and said he had no interest in hitting girls. We instructed him to go to school, tell the teachers he didn’t believe in hitting and find something else to do. So when I picked him up yesterday and he ran to me happily swinging a pomlázka I flipped.

In short, he behaved like a normal six-year-old. The teachers said it was OK, everybody was doing it, the girls were all laughing and he got candy. I cried on the corner of our street for 40 mins on the phone to my partner wondering how on earth I was supposed to explain our patriarchal society to my little boy. In the end I frightened him and he thought I was mad at him. I told him I wasn’t angry with him or his teachers but at something bigger. I reminded him that sometimes when his papa is tickling him he laughs but he doesn’t really like it. But how should I continue?

In the wake of Steubenville, I imagine many of you have seen articles on “How Not to Raise a Rapist”. Well how do I convey to a little boy that what happened in school yesterday in and of itself was technically OK? We like his teachers very much and are confident they made sure nobody got hurt and the class all had fun…but the truth is that as the years go by these boys will get stronger; these girls will become used to giggling their feelings away; these girls will become used to no one around them intervening; they will get used to saying “yes” because that’s what polite girls do; they will become inured to not going against the grain or rocking the boat; and they will get used to seeing boys rewarded for bad behavior. And should I even get started on the “stick”, the “egg” and the messages of procreation as female function?

When he told me he was sent hom with instructions to hit both me and my elderly mother I seriously thought my head was going to pop off. As much as I feel it’s never too early to preach non-violence it can be way too hard to explain the nuances of what violence really means. I wonder if I’ll have a grip on this by the time he’s seven.

Culture, General Story, Issues, Politics, Rape, Sexism

Otevřený dopis Miloši Zemanovi

Scroll down for English

Praha, 22. ledna 2013

Vážený pane Zemane,

Váš výrok o znásilnění jako evoluční výhodě, který navíc zazněl v přímém přenosu v televizní debatě, je zcela nepřípustný a neomluvitelný. Při vší úctě k Vaší oblibě bonmotů byste jakožto soudný člověk měl rozpoznat, že tohle už bylo daleko za hranicí dobrého vkusu. A že jste hrubě urazil mnoho žen, ať už samotných obětí sexuálního násilí, nebo těch ostatních. Slyšet taková slova z úst prezidentského kandidáta je smutné a šokující.

Znevažování obětí znásilnění a dalších forem násilí na ženách, které je v naší společnosti bohužel běžné, přežívá právě díky takovýmto rádoby vtipným výrokům, jako byl ten Váš. Pokud zazní v televizní debatě, má dopad na spousty diváků a divaček. Nejsem si jistá, jestli si vůbec následky svého chování uvědomujete, což však Vaše selhání nijak neomlouvá.

Vyzývám Vás proto, abyste se za svůj nešťastný výrok omluvil. Je urážkou pro všechny ženy, a nejen pro ně. Vy sám jste přece také otcem a manželem, a tak by úcta k ženám měla být i ve Vašem zájmu.

Pevně věřím, že svá slova přehodnotíte. Že se jednalo o omyl, a nikoliv o promyšlený výrok, za kterým si i nadále stojíte.

S pozdravem,

Jana Smiggels Kavková
Předsedkyně České ženské lobby


On a related note here is an article which appeared in today’s Prague Monitor

Czech Women’s Lobby wants Zeman to apologise for statement about rape

Czech feminists want presidential candidate Milos Zeman to apologise for his statement about raping as an evolution advantage with which he wanted to explain to his rival, nobleman Karel Schwarzenberg, why princes have degenerated that he made in a TV debate on Friday.

The Czech Women’s Lobby, whose director Jana Smiggels Kavkova has written an open letter to Zeman, says similar statements offend all women.

Former Social Democrat prime minister Zeman (now SPOZ) and Foreign Minister and TOP 09 head Karel Schwarzenberg will compete for the presidential post in a direct presidential election run-off on January 25-26.

“Do you know the difference between princes and squires? Princes had the right of the first night, due to which they degenerated because they did not have to rape their female serfs, which means they did not have to use energy for the raping. On the other hand we, squires, always had to use much energy to fight out their rights, not only in the sphere of sex, and therefore we did not degenerate,” Zeman, whose name translates into English as squire, said on Prima Family TV.

The association of organisations focused on women’s rights considers this statement entirely inadmissible, inexcusable and reaching far beyond the border of good taste.

“The disrespecting of the victims of rape and other forms of violence against women that are, unfortunately, common in our society, survives precisely thanks to such would-be witty statements like yours. If it is made in a television debate, it has an impact on lots of male and female spectators,” the feminists wrote to Zeman.

They called on him to apologise for the statement.

“It is offending all women, and not only them. You, too, are a father and husband, and respect for women should also be in your interest,” the Czech Women’s Lobby wrote.

Schwarzenberg also made a would-be witty statement about former lawmakers for the senior ruling Civic Democrats (ODS), who gave up their mandates to allow the passing of a tax package with which they disagreed last December and they have gained lucrative posts in state firms, in a pre-election debate on Czech Television (CT) last week.

He said if a man has a girl friend who does not like doing certain tasks, relations are strengthened if she gets a beautiful necklace.

Schwarzenberg apologised for his statement about women in a pre-election debate Tuesday.

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Culture, General Story, Sexism

Za stovku si na prsa napíšu cokoli

Za stovku si na prsa napíšu cokoli. Z USA dorazil fenomén mikroslužeb.

PRAHA – Budu komukoliv dělat za sto padesát korun doprovod na společenské akci, nabízím tři konverzační tématické okruhy a tři stupně machismu. Nebo: Napíšu si na svá pěkně vyvinutá prsa cokoliv si řeknete, vyfotím je a fotku vám pošlu, vše za 150 korun.

Takové inzeráty a řadu jiných lze najít na několika nových webových stránkách, které začaly působit v Česku. Nejde jen o bizarní či úsměvné nabídky, často je možné si objednat užitečnou drobnou službu jako nákup v obchodě nebo doučování.

Do země přichází ze Spojených států nový fenomén, takzvané mikroslužby. Původní myšlenka vznikla teprve před dvěma lety v USA, kde dva internetoví podnikatelé – Micha Kaufman a Shai Wininger – založili server Jejich mottem bylo: nakupuj, prodávej a bav se.

Zejména mladí uživatelé na bláznivé, užitečné či aspoň zábavné nabídky služeb skvěle zareagovali, Fiverr v současnosti zprostředkovává na 750 tisíc nabídek. Jen několik měsíců po americkém vzoru vznikl v Česku web stomanie. cz, další stránky přináší nabídky všemožných službiček necelý rok. Skutečný boom začal až letos, kdy vznikly další dva podobné portály, na jaře Manytu. cz a na počátku července Stovkomat. cz.

Za všemi projekty stojí mladí technologičtí nadšenci, kteří v podstatě okopírovali americký vzor a za pár desítek tisíc postavili svůj web. „Aktuální model je totožný s americkým originálem. Rozhodli jsme se ten model nijak neměnit, protože jsme chtěli otestovat, zda se tento model prosadí v kontaktu s vcelku rozdílnou českou náturou,“ říká zakladatel stránek Kilerr. cz Kamil Brejcha.

Jeho odpověď se přitom neliší od konkurence, která kopírování taktéž připouští, ale upozorňuje na česká specifika. „Lišíme se v osobním přístupu k uživatelům a případným reklamacím, které Fiverr kvůli své obrovské uživatelské základně nemá sílu řešit. Nicméně, byť je Fiverr jasnou dominantou světového trhu, z vlastních zkušeností vím, že na české potřeby je krátký,“ říká Petr Spálený, marketingový ředitel Stovkomatu. České specifikum spočívá především v českém jazyce.

Všechny české servery si rychle získávají oblibu. „Na začátku poskytování mikroslužeb byly blázniviny jako třeba, že za sto korun za vás vyřídím nepříjemný telefonát. Dnes je víc odborných nabídek, úprava stránek pro vyhledávače, různé grafiky a podobně,“ říká majitel serveru, Tomáš Jankůj. Jeho web zprostředkoval od svého vzniku mezi pěti až deseti tisíci transakcemi. „Od letošního jara se počet transakcí meziměsíčně zvyšuje o třetinu,“ říká Jankůj.

Weby nabízející mikroslužby

Podstatou webů je, že většina nabídek je za stokorunu či jen o něco víc. To třeba neláká případné poskytovatele erotických služeb. Většinu těchto webů jsou jejich majitelé schopní financovat sami bez jakékoliv pomoci. Za úspěšné zprostředkování vybírají procenta z ceny služby. Podle Jankůje není problém, aby takovýto web naprogramoval středně zdatný středoškolák. U profesionální firmy nevyjde vyrobení „službičkomatu“ dráž než jiné internetové stránky, tedy desítky tisíc korun.

Děkuji na Samuel Beckwith na

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Culture, General Story, Issues, Sexism, Verbal

“Everyday Sexism” Chronicles Those Small, but Meaningful, Acts of Casual Sexism

Originally published on xoJane
by s.e. smith

People like to say that sexism is invisible, that it doesn’t actually happen, or that women are simply being oversensitive when they say they experience it.

Microaggressions. Those little things that, on their surface, “aren’t such a big deal,” but are actually illustrative of how far we haven’t come as a society. The things that you point at to say “actually, we’re nowhere near equality.”

The concept of microaggressions was originally developed in a racial context, to discuss: “the ‘everyday insults, indignities and demeaning messages sent to people of color by well-intentioned white people who are unaware of the hidden messages being sent to them,’ in [Derald Wing] Sue’s definition.” The term caught on and started to be used more generally to talk about the small things people say, often without thinking about them, and how they pile up.

Microaggressions became a popular site for collating examples, submitted by users with a range of experiences. The curators say:

Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves. Often, they are never meant to hurt — acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects. Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult. Social others are microaggressed hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.

Each carries a sting. Many are thoughtless, but the very thoughtlessness underscores the attitudes behind them, the casual approach people have to each other, and the internalized nature of many forms of prejudice. The people who say these things would often profess shock and horror that they’d caused harm with their words.

“Everyday Sexism” is specifically collecting examples of sexist microaggressions, the things people casually say to women to reinforce their role in society. With a constantly updating feed of user-submitted entries, the site provides a stunning array of sexist attitudes on display. While it’s based in the UK, users can submit from anywhere –- thanks to the power of the Internet –- and users talk about everything from women in pop culture to being patronized by utility repair people when they ask technical questions.

Helena 2012-08-20 13:26

Went to the pub the other day with a male friend, and he went over to the cash machine to get some money out. The barman offered me an expensive ‘girly’ drink and when I said I wanted something cheaper he said ‘doesn’t matter, does it? He’s paying’. As if the assumption that I would not be paying for my own drinks wasn’t enough he then tried to give me a half pint of lager instead of a full pint for no reason; he just assumed again.

Rose 2012-08-20 12:46

When I tell people I’m studying physics they usually look confused, and then say, ‘Oh! You want to be a teacher.’

No, I want to be a physicist.

As an OU student I have to go to residential schools. I have had guys shouting in my face about how women aren’t fit to have jobs, and guys following up sexist hateful speech with violence – nothing I say will make them stop, because they don’t listen to women, and the other guys around don’t want to get ‘involved’. The gutless cowards wont even state if they agree or not.

Laura, the curator, says in the introduction that the site is intended to create a discussion, and stand as a reminder that sexism is not over, that we are nowhere near gender equality. “By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss.”

She points to the statistics many people may be familiar with; women are underrepresented in positions of power, for example, and are more likely to be viewed as public property. To add to her list, I’d note that women are more likely to live in poverty, especially if they are women of color. And the list goes on.

But, she argues, sexism is also more insidious. It’s also about the small comments made every day, all around us, that remind us of the lesser place women are supposed to occupy in society. She created Everyday Sexism to fight back, to show that women are talking about sexism and regard it as a serious issue. The site is a way of telling the world that it is on notice and women are not afraid to report what they see.

Reading through the stories on the site, I was reminded of my own experiences at a past place of employment, when I was still struggling with my gender identity and presented as a woman for the most part. We were training a new employee, a man in his 40s, and he resolutely refused to allow me to handle any of his training because, he said, he didn’t want to learn from “a girl.” After he was brought on board as a regular employee, he made a point of hounding me with small, pointless acts of sexism.

I struggled to articulate what was going on when I complained to my manager. I fought to explain why this was a problem. And eventually, I quit, because no one was listening to me, and I started dreading the thought of going to work every day. Until he was hired, it had been one of the best jobs I’d ever had, and I’d loved working there. He managed to ruin my experience simply by assuming he was better than me, and being unafraid to remind me of that at every possible moment.

People like to say that sexism is invisible, that it doesn’t actually happen, or that women are simply being oversensitive when they say they experience it. What Everyday Sexism is doing is confronting that claim, showing visitors firsthand that sexism is alive and well, and doesn’t show any signs of going away. By talking about it, dragging it out into the open and showing people what we mean when we talk about sexism, maybe we can start fighting it.

Because this is not just a fight that needs to be won in the corridors of power and on the boards of major corporations. It’s also a fight that needs to be won in small businesses and on the streets and in private homes, in classrooms and community organizations. Until women can go through the day without being confronted with everyday sexism, we haven’t reached gender equality.

And storytelling is one way to accomplish that fight.

Ally 2012-08-20 15:35

At uni, being told by my housemate (an intelligent and confident woman) that, if she married, she would be happy to let her husband use her vote.

Ms, via Twitter 2012-08-20 15:12

I go on a plane & whole cabin does comedy nervous laughter at female pilot & I die a little inside

Kat 2012-08-20 14:46

I was raised by very academic parents who expected me to study a “respectable” subject at a top university and get a great job. Gender simply didn’t come into it. I always considered that I was treated in exactly the same way as my brothers.

But now that I’m older, despite everything I was (rightly) pushed to achieve, I’ve hit the glass ceiling that my mother has herself put in place for me. As the only daughter, I am expected to drop everything and run home across the country the moment assistance is needed. Does my work come second to my brothers’? Or is it that family should be the daughter’s priority? When the family is together, I’m the one who’s expected to be in the kitchen, regardless of my work commitments.

It works both ways, I suppose. It’s considered a minor miracle, and is the subject of almost exaggerated maternal pride, that one of my brothers can bake a passable sponge cake.

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