Three women, three different lives and three encounters with the worst of burglary in intimacy and the feeling of security. Dominika, Tereza and Karolína opened up and described their experiences of abuse in a unique documentary by Czech television and authors Kateřina Hrochová and Jaroslav Hroch – The Rape Under the Skin.
They have all encountered a different but equally devastating form of intervention in their body and soul. Tereza was abused by her trainer for years, Karolina was raped by her half-brother, who is 10 years older, from the age of six. and Dominique were forced to have sex by two men. The three women decided to open up in public. Not to point fingers at rapists, but to helped explain what rape is, what the consequences are for the victim herself and what she faced after sharing her experience in family or in public.
It is secondary victimization, or secondary injury, which is the biggest subject of the document and at the same time a burning problem in our society. “The Czech system is fragmented”, It is heard by experts who not only explain flawed legislation and unavailable comprehensive assistance, but also come across myths and prejudices that are prevalent in Czech society and are only badly broken. Even misdirected media attention often doesn’t help.
Tough, affectionate and a bit beaten up
“I don’t know how compared to other countries, but in the Czech Republic, gender stereotypes are deeply rooted in society. In 2018, we commissioned a survey on Czech society’s attitudes towards sexual violence He showed that nearly three-fifths of adults in the Czech Republic think women are to blame for rape in some cases,” features lawyer Irena Hůlová from Amnesty International for Blesk Zprávy.
“According to them, they have some responsibility if they were either flirtatious or drunk, wore sexy clothes, men didn’t say no or had a lot of sexual partners.” summarizes Hůlová pro Blesk Reports the most widespread prejudices and myths around rape in the Czech Republic. He adds with a breath that this is an unacceptable state of mind. The author is always responsible.
The myth of attractiveness is also discussed by experts in the documentary Rape Under the Skin. “There should be women who are more likely to be raped, they are more attractive to women. Lipstick, short skirt and cleavage. But it is known for certain that the offender does not choose based on attractiveness, but based on availability,” explains psychologist Ludmila Čírtková in the document.
Another common myth is that the rape victim should have a clearly visible sign of trauma. And therefore physical remains on the body, such as bruises or other injuries. According to experts, people often mistakenly believe that victims seek help immediately and also defend themselves against the abuser during the incident. The most common reaction of victims, however, is the “freezing” described by Dominika. “It was painful, but I went into animal mode, and I have to endure and survive.” she confides that she did little to defend herself and that, despite the categorical no, sexual relations and rapes took place.
The victims prefer to keep quiet, the Czechs simply do not trust them
Because of prejudices and myths, even the victims themselves think they are to blame. “They’re the first to feel guilty because they’re looking for a way out and the closest thought is: What could I have done differently. And the rape ward downplays and doesn’t trust them contributes to the feeling that they are guilty”, explains Blesk Reports Dana Pokorná, head of psychotherapeutic services at the non-profit organization proFEM.
Distrust is another big problem running through Czech society. How victims and experts agree – first, our victims are simply not trustworthy. This often raises inappropriate questions during questioning if the victim reports an act and Relatives and closest friends of the raped woman or man often have doubts.
Karolína was met with mistrust from her mother and describes in the document that the first question that came from the police was: What she was wearing and whether she likes to wear skirts or dresses. It should be added that she was not even 10 years old at the time.
Dominique’s friends and family believed, but she decided not to report the act. And precisely for the reasons mentioned above. Right now, the Czech system is really secondary to the victim. According to the information gathered by the project leaders, it takes on average one year to convict an offender. During this time, the victim undergoes one interrogation after another, has to perform 5-7 acts and constantly awaits a verdict and possibly the results of an appeal.
“In 2020, 78 perpetrators were convicted of rape, and more than half of them left the court on parole. Generally speaking, only one-fifth to one-seventh of the reported incidents result in a conviction for the perpetrators of rape. » adds concrete data to Bull for Flash News.
There are then only about five percent of reported cases. “It is still true that approximately 12,000 people in the Czech Republic are victims of rape. This is based on the latency of rape, which according to professional research is around 5% on average. In 90% of cases, the rape victim is a woman. Women between the ages of 18 and 34 are most at risk of sexual violence.” concludes Hůlová.
So what is the recipe for helping rape victims? How to change leaky legislation, but also the prejudices of the police? Flash News prepares more details for you.