Czech experts, judges and politicians: #MeToo is an eccentricity of our times

17. 3. 2018

čas čtení 5 minut

Will the campaign #MeToo have an impact in the Czech Republic and what are its legal aspects? Czech politicians, lawyers and "experts" discussed this at a conference held at Charles University in Prague on Friday 16th March. 

Jaroslav Kubera, member of the Upper House of the Czech Parliament for the right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the Lord Mayor of the North Bohemian city of Teplice said that the #MeToo movement was "an eccentricity of our times". In his view, "time is out of joint". 

"I have noticed that feminist activists are complaining that we have not invited enough women to this conference. But it is not about sex. It is about the principle of confidentiality, which is observed by legal experts only". Kubera explained that he has been in a relationship with his wife since he was 14 and that he had won her by harassing her, by touching her, with which she agreed. Rather than attending this conference he would have preferred to go to a graduation ceremony which was taking place in the same  building at the same time - because he could ogle young women there, he added.

"People should demonstrate in the streets against the fact that lawyers no longer respect the principle of confidentiality in the cases of harassment," he continued. "#MeToo is a manifestation of hyper-correctness. It is necessary to fight against it with decency and humour." Kubera will not stop flirting with women and will not stop "being gallant towards them". 

Roman Fiala, the deputy chairperson of the Czech Supreme Court, said that #MeToo was about humiliation of anyone by anyone, the issue therefore was not really related to the subjugation of women. 

Former Czech catholic politician Cyril Svoboda, who works currently as an adviser to Czech PM Andrej Babiš, explained that #MeToo was the result of the desire of women to be regarded as fashionable. "I am also attractive, men are also interested in me, I have also experienced harassment," said Svoboda and called on women to be courageous and to reject the #MeToo campaign.

"A certain amount of sexual violence has been part of our history for centuries," explained Czech sexologist Radim Uzel. As a legal expert, he often needs to adjudicate whether violence against women during sex was consensual or not.  This is very difficult because even men come to him with many injuries caused to them by their boisterous girlfriends in the shower.

Uzel added that he frequently slaps the bottoms of nurses in the hospital where he works, but he chooses only pretty women to slap. When he knows there would be problems he does not do this. Protesting feminists are so ugly that he would never slap them.

Sexologist Laura Janáčková explained that sex was a trade transaction. 84 per cent of women offered sex to men in return for them doing household chores. 10 per cent of women offered sex in return for presents. 

"Females always choose their partners according to certain criteria. Women chose men according to the man's resources and according to the man's willingness to share them. The way the man looks is relatively immaterial. In return for sharing their resources, men want attractive, young, healthy and fertile women. They also want virgins."

Sociologist Petr Hampl agreed  that sex was a trade transaction. This was due to the principles of evolution: men were expected to disseminate their seed and women were expected to decide to whom they would offer their eggs. During courtship, women must be conquered. The #MeToo campaign was trying to subvert these time-honoured principles, thus worsening the situation, which was already serious due to the ongoing crisis of manhood.

"It should be easy for women to reject unwanted advances," said Hampl, adding that women should simply slap unwanted men rather than joining the #MeToo campaign. In his view, men are not very empathetic and they often do not know that their interest is unwelcome to some women. 

Ladislav Hejtmánek, a judge from the Prague Municipal Court, warned that women must not accuse men of bullying or harassment in public, on social networks. A sexual bully should be punished by the state, not by an excited mob.

"The most notorious cases in the #MeToo movement seem to be a part of an exchange of the elites in the USA. Usually, the only motivation for the #MeToo movement is revenge. This leads to public lynching," said Hejtmánek.

Libor Vávra, the chair of the Prague Municipal Court, warned against the aggression of the #MeToo activists. In his view, it is a problem that women have only published their stories of bullying and harassment many years after they happened. "Thus their testimonies will not be particularly reliable," he added. "You were poor, you needed an acting role and you needed money. Why did you not complain about the sexual abuse the moment you became richer?" asked Vávra.

"I am scandalised when I hear about #MeToo. This is because I do not like witch hunts," said Tomáš Sokol, well-known Czech lawyer and the president of the Union of the Czech Defence Lawyers.

Students and graduates of several Czech universities demonstrated against the conference outside the university building. They pointed to the fact that while the conference pretended to be impartial, it gave space only to critics of the #MeToo campaign who have often in the past denied the existence of the discrimination of women. The demonstrators also complained that no academics who specialise in gender discrimination, sexual violence and harassment at Czech universities had been invited and that there were very few women amongst the participants of the conference. 

Public discourse in the Czech Republic is often hostile towards campaigners defending the rights of women, as was demonstrated by the public debates of Czech presidential candidates prior to the Czech presidential elections which took place in January 2018. All the Czech presidential candidates criticised  the #MeToo movement. 

According to the World Economic Forum's index of gender inequality, Czech Republic  is in the 77th place. It is interesting that in the area of education, the Czech Republic is rated as the best country in the world: both men and women have equal access to education. However, once they graduate, Czech women are confronted with a glass ceiling.

Source in Czech HERE 



Obsah vydání | 23. 3. 2018