And while in April the culture of April jokes is most received in Croatia, the month of awareness of important and burning topics was never accepted. And another April passes. We didn't even turn around, and here's First of May and the Labor Day at the door. It came and it passed. Croats across the country, in that name, greased their mustaches with barbecues and watered their palates with bubbling liquid. But why do I mention April?
Here are a few questions. Have you ever experienced inappropriate sexual comments? Street harassment? Harassment at school / college? Have you ever experienced sexual pressure / comment / offer from a boss / director? Have you ever experienced pressure from your partner to have sex, even though you said / showed you didn’t want to? Do you know that rape is also possible in marriage? Have you ever witnessed sexual violence? Do you even know how to recognize sexual violence? In all its forms? This year, April is also the twentieth Sexual Assault Awareness Month, sexual violence awareness month.
HISTORY OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE WARENESS
The movement was born in America, and its, unfortunately, long and difficult history dates back to the 1940s and 1950s. It was not until 1971 that the first rape center was established in San Francisco. With the National Coalition against Sexual Violence and various campaigns in 1994, the proposal of the Law on Violence against Women came into force.
The first law that required that gender-based violence not be treated as a private family matter, but as a crime. Awareness of the April campaign nationwide has existed since 2001, culminating in 2009 when President Barack Obama officially declared April Sexual Violence Awareness Month.
HISTORY OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE AWARENESS IN CROATIA
For many years, sexual violence has not been a category in Croatia. It was difficult to talk about children as victims of sexual violence. Every report was more or less crammed with public order, and everything happened in the family circle – where the police had no authority. Until a number of tragedies happened, right.
It was not until 1988 that the SOS hotline for victims – women and children – was opened. And in 1990, the Autonomous Women’s House was established – a shelter for abused women. In the 2000s, they performed with larger campaigns such as “Silence is not Gold” and “STOP sexual violence”.
Thanks to associations and various non-governmental organizations, free legal and psychological assistance is often provided. Still, I’m afraid all of this is still too little and insufficient. Last year, with the #WomenInPublicSpace movement, women began sharing their personal experiences of sexual harassment in public for the first time.
And, with this year’s recognition of the actress Milena Radulovich, the movement “I did not ask for it” was born in the region, which also launched an avalanche of reports of abuse throughout the region. It is definitely good that this is being talked about more and more, although I would prefer something to be done more and more.
Oh. Every hair rises on my head. And, I have a lot of hair. No, this topic will not subside. And there will be more and more angry women screaming at these burning social issues. Because, hey, while we’re building shelters for abused women – do you think we should shut up?!
Just imagine. What kind of social justice would it be to build autonomous houses and put abusers in them? No shame. What kind of human rights and dignity would be achieved if there was no need for #SaveMe initiatives? If we didn’t make female victims patients and doubt their credibility? If that disgusting connection between the female gender and the victim were reduced and destroyed at all?! If one were to point the finger at the real root of the problem – and that is, in any case, the perpetrator of the violence.
Unfortunately, our state teaches us in many ways that it is not a support. From the judiciary to the treasury. I don’t know what we have left then to take matters into our own hands. No one can save us in the way we can ourselves. Educate yourself, talk to experts, make available everything that belongs to you anyway.
TRUTH ON #REPEAT
There are these few truths that need to be repeated over and over again.
I’m not guilty. I still have a choice. I still have a way out. There is always a way. Help is around the corner. IM not alone. This is not my shame. I survived and I will live. My next move is in my hands. My body is no one’s object. I deserve respect. I’m not an exhibition for someone’s grades. To walk naked – I do not allow inappropriate comments. I do not consent to unwanted touches. I control myself. I can’t influence what happens to me, but I can influence the sequence of events after that. I control myself. I’m not guilty. I have a choice. I have a way out.
AMONG BETWEEN JUDAS AND BEASTS LIE ME DOWN
Although the theme of the whole song does not fit, somehow this verse played in my head. Well, my dear women, you are the ones running with the wolves. Sometimes tigers come out of you too. You spit fire, give birth to all kinds of miracles every day and beautify the world with your unique energy. You are not the weaker sex. You are not subordinate. If need be, you are a safe home for all kinds of beasts and monsters.
You will let them out as needed. You will scream. You will take off all the shame that this society has invented anyway. And which were never even yours. April has passed and I hope this text casts a slightly different shadow on it. And on each after him. Meanwhile, lets celebrate what makes us, well us, in every shape, form and color.
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Thank you for sharing this!
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