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We don’t talk about sexual assault here, but it happens

Inside a composed woman might be a survivor screaming. Viktorie Goldmannová/YJI

Hradec nad Moravicí, CZECH REPUBLIC – Conversation about sexual assault in the Czech Republic is almost non-existent. It is what we whisper underneath our breath, our eyes turned to the ground.

It’s not only uncomfortable to talk about, but for a long time I did not understand that sexual assault existed. Whenever someone talked about assault, I’d just assume it was getting physically hurt in a fight.

But it was not until recent events that I understood how big of an issue this is. Earlier this spring, eight anonymous female students came forward to speak about being sexually harassed by Dominik Feri, a prominent Czech politician.

Feri, 25, gained popularity mostly by creating an online Instagram presence and informing his audience about the new covid restrictions.

He continued to respond by denying allegations of harassment, but admitting that he may have been inappropriate due to his youth.

It was outrageous, yet the newspaper headlines, internet comments, and opinions of those around me, almost always centered around victim blaming.

It happened so long ago, this is just a scheme because he is getting popular.

Why should we believe them? Innocent until proven guilty.

We can’t take this seriously – after all these are anonymous.

You don’t understand, it’s just politics.

This incident revealed to me that not only is sexual assault or harassment something people don’t even bother to discuss, they don’t take it seriously.

The most desperate I’ve felt during this was when I read comments on social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram. Even though it hurt, I was used to the older generations being uneducated and disrespectful. But these were young people.

I thought that our generation would bring a change to this stagnant country, but reading those spiteful comments, I found myself losing hope.

Whenever I found someone who shared my opinions, their comment section was filled with mansplaining, victim blaming and rudeness.

What I thought would bring change and enlightenment to this society brought only disappointment.

Viktorie Goldmannová is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

This article is part of the No one is safe project about sexual assault around the world. It is being published in five parts of six article each on Mondays and Thursday, beginning Nov. 29, 2021. For links to the published project, click below.

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