On Saturday 7th of December at 3:20 pm women of all different nationalities living in Prague came together in Wenceslas Square, wearing blindfolds and green scarves, to perform the anti-rape anthem ‘Un Violador en Tu Camino’ ( a rapist in your path). This powerful chant was created by the Chilean feminist theatre collective LasTesis, originally being performed in the streets of Valparaiso, but within days became a viral sensation and took off around the globe.
This 2-minute performance is a demonstration against sexual violence, expressing solidarity to victims of gender-based violence and denoting how institutions of power uphold a culture of impunity around sexual offenders: ‘the rapist is you, it’s the cops, the judges, the state, the president’.
The Prague CitySpy caught up with Daniela Uribe, one of the organisers of the event, after the performance on Saturday.
“I participated in the performance because the state does not help victims of abuse, instead they ask ridiculous questions like:
‘Where were you?’ ,’How were you dressed?’ ‘Were you drunk?’ And ‘What were you doing at that time?’
No one should be questioned after being a victim of an assault. This performance allows us to show that we are aware of the injustices happening in Latin America, we are not alone, and the fault never was and never is ours”.
Daniela also reported being “struck by the number of harassment, abuse and violations that exist towards women in the Czech Republic and how little coverage they receive”.
Daniela’s thoughts, unfortunately, reflect the findings from a survey conducted by the Eurobarometer on Gender-Based Violence in 2016:
- 42% of Czech respondents reported that non-consensual sex can be justified if the victim was intoxicated, wearing provocative clothes, was flirting with the offender beforehand, voluntarily went home with the offender, or was not clearing saying no or fighting back.
- Respondents from the Czech Republic were also the least aware (25%) of support services available to victims of domestic violence.
In 2014 data from the EU agency for fundamental rights survey revealed that 32% of Czech women reported experiencing physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15.
The Czech Government has acknowledged the need to promote legal and professional support to prevent gender- based violence. Prevention of Domestic and Gender-Based Violence action plans have been created such as the establishment of a free 24/7 domestic telephone line for victims of domestic violence (The DONA Helpline*).
Action plans also acknowledge the demand to increase public awareness of domestic violence and challenges historically engrained gender-based stereotypes. For example, manipulated sterilisations were frequently performed on Romani women without their full and informed consent in the former Czechoslovak state, particularly during the communist regime. There were even last-known cases dating back to as recent as 2007. The Czech government has formally apologised to victims but has not compensated the victims.
Daniela hopes that these global protests will help subvert the current patriarchal system so that her daughter can have a future where she can go out alone and not worry every time a man approaches her. She also hopes that the demonstration will be repeated and replicated in the Czech Republic, in the Czech language by Czech women.
Information for foreigners: DONA Helpline by Bílý kruh bezpečí is an organisation that provides victims of assault or rape with professional, free of charge, and confidential emotional and moral support. They have counselling and intervention centres across the country as well as a 24/7 rape intervention helpline that is staffed by a Czech and English speaking counsellor. (+420 775 248 363)