A discussion about sexual abuse from a socio-political perspective
The discussion took place in gallery Oko uragánu as part of the exhibition ‘NOBODY LIKES DIRTY GIRLS’ by Alma Lily Rayner.
Moderator: Alma Lily Rayner
Panelists: Daniela Baráčková (artist), Jitka Poláková (director of ProFem) and Alexandra Machková Fraňková (clinic psychologist)
More than 50% of the population in Czech republic are women. Ask each and she could tell you about the time she was either sexually discriminated, harassed, assaulted or abused. Maybe it was by a family member, a partner, a friend, a teacher, a colleague or, more rarely by a stranger. Maybe it happened once and maybe it went on for years. However, you probably never asked and even if you did, she probably wouldn’t tell. After all, she is smart enough to know that by coming out she would be stigmatised, victimised and would likely be blamed. In any case, she already has so many gender-based struggles ahead of her, why make it worse?
So we keep silent, being the civilised bystanders that we are. We convince ourselves that sexual violence is about sex- a private issue rather than a sociopolitical phenomenon blossoming in partly hidden patriarchal structures. Meanwhile, at least one out of four women will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of eighteen. In over 85% of the cases it will be carried out by someone the victim knows, while one of six girls will experience incest. Statistics on the subject are logically hard to gather since most cases are not even reported. Yet it is already well established that sexual abuse is not a rare phenomenon and happens everywhere. Nonetheless, you will not see this girl on the media unless she is sensationally murdered.
You will not see her as she grows up battling with the long term psychological and social effects of the abuse. If she will survive through to adulthood, she will by that time learn the importance of silence and will likely become a bystander herself.