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Reports that five out of six men involved in a gang rape of a 14-year old girl were convicted of sexual abuse of a minor, rather than the more serious crime of sexual assault; the girl was for part of the time in an 'unconscious state'. The report also provides an update on the Pamplona case, noting the the Spanish Supreme Court ruled the men were guilty of rape and raised their prison sentences to 15 years. El Pais records in addition that the commission created after the Pamplona case to revise the legal definition of sexual violence has reported, and recommended eliminating the lesser charge of sexual abuse; but the Socialist Party government has not yet acted.
Bredoux is a journalist who has specialised in covering charges of sexual harassment and assault by prominent personalities since 2011, when she was shocked by the prevailing French media response to rape charges made in New York against Dominique Strauss Kahn, due to become head of the IMF. Bredoux also had to appear in court in February 2019 with six women who had accused the deputy speaker of the National Assembly of harassment, when he filed a defamation lawsuit against them. She assesses positively the impact of MeToo in France (despite evidence of opposition to it, including by women), arguing that 'the balance of power has changed' and that media coverage was more sympathetic to women making accusations.
Arising out of the #MeToo movement in Sweden, #sistabriefen was created to represent women, non-binaries and trans-persons working within the communications industry. This study analyses the dynamics and identities of the #sistabriefen group members on their private social media platform through 23 interviews, and a qualitative content analysis over the course of five months. This research assesses how members are motivated to participate in the #sistabriefen group, how they identify themselves within the group, and how the nature of the group affects members’ involvement. The findings indicated that digital social movements have the potential to promote social change.
In Spain and France, a lot of attention was initially given to Alyssa Milano’s #Me Too initiative in October 2017 and Oprah Winfrey’s #Time’s Up claim in January 2018. The authors argue that in Spain and France #MeToo was focused as a way for ordinary women to denounce the sexual abuse and harassment they had been suffering, sometimes for decades, in the past, and the role of well-known actors or powerful personalities was almost non-existent. But the #MeToo movement did play a significant role in supporting women, individually or collectively, to oppose sexual abuse and harassment.
When the five men involved in the 2017 gang rape were released from prison in June 2018, weeks before the Pamplona festival, feminists around Spain protested and called for revision of the legal definition of rape, which required 'violence or intimidation', terms that allowed many rapists to escape conviction. The new Minister for Equality, Carmen Calvo, promised to redefine rape in terms of consent. Many feminists planned to demonstrate in relation to the Pamplona festival, either by a boycott or by dressing in black during the festival (challenging the traditional wearing of white). But they called off this plan in response to pleas from women in Pamplona, who had long campaigned to take part in the ceremonial supporting events and eventually won that right 15 years earlier.
This 'long read' article provides a detailed account of the notorious rape of an 18-year-old woman at the Pamplona bull run festival in 2016 and the five man 'wolf pack' responsible. It assesses the impact of the trial, which in April 2018 found the men guilty of 'sexual abuse', instead of rape, because the woman had not been violently coerced. The rape and the verdict sparked widespread anger among women, who demonstrated across the country, and journalist Cristina Fallaras tweeted about her own experiences of sexual violence and launched the hashtag #Cuentalo (tell your story). The five men were released from jail in June 2018 on bail whilst appealing their prison sentences. Beatley describes the impact on the feminist movement - police estimated 350,000 demonstrated in Madrid and 200,000 in Barcelona and many thousands in other cities and towns on International Women's Day 2019. But the case has also mobilised the far right party Vox to attack feminists and to claim that the danger of violence against women comes from non-European immigrants.
Following the acquittal of three men who were accused of raping a 15 year-old girl, the activist movement, FATTA, and the other related demonstrations inspired by ‘MeToo’, led Sweden to the historic declaration, following Iceland, that sex without voluntary participation is illegal.
See also: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/05/sweden-new-rape-law-is-historic-victory-for-metoo-campaigners/ and https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2018/04/eu-sex-without-consent-is-rape/.
(Translated by Steffi Buchier)
Summary report by Sorbonne student newspaper on versions of MeToo hashtag and the responses in France, Sweden, Spain and UK. It then notes the political repercussions of the movement in France (positive response by President Macron), Sweden (new law on consent) and Spain (where new socialist government was discussing modification of law on consent). The author also touches on reasons why the Balkans and Eastern Europe and (more surprisingly) Germany have been less responsive to MeToo, and notes how typical social reactions in different countries may influence the reliability of comparative statistical surveys of harassment.
The authors observe that Germany in 2017 finally ratified the 2011 Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, and also amended the law on rape to emphasise consent, not the physical violence of the rapist. But these changes were not due to decades of feminist pressure, but to the highly publicised harassment of women in Cologne on New Year's Eve 2015 by immigrants. This led to sensational media coverage invoking anti-Muslim fears, and pressure from the far right AFD party (Alternative for Germany) and extremist Pegida movement. Cologne encouraged demands for quicker deportations and restrictions on refugee numbers across the political spectrum, and there was a rise of up to three a week in arson attacks on refugee centres. The article notes the response of anti-racist feminists, for example in the internet initiative #ausnahmlos (without exception), challenging the racialisation of sexual harassment and the racial undertones of public debate. But they were in turn attacked for fuelling right wing extremism, and were compared to Holocaust deniers.
See also: 'A Feminist View of Cologne: The current outrage is very hypocritical', Der Spiegel Online, 21 January 2016. https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-feminists-debate-cologne-attacks-a-1072806.html
Debate between two leading feminists (Alice Schwarzer and Anne Wizorek) from different generations of feminists responding to Cologne. They disagree about the urgency of addressing sexism within some immigrant communities, as opposed to stressing the persistence of patriarchal attitudes throughout German society. Both seem to agree that groping and sexual harassment should become a criminal offence, a cause which Wizorek had promoted since 2013.
Assessment of why Italian media have hounded individual women who went public about sexual assault, and why the Italian MeToo hashtag, #quellavoltache, only attracted a few hundred mentions on social media. The author cites conclusion of a panel of journalists that a major reason is the mafia culture of silence and protecting one's own. The emphasis on personal ties (clientalism) in the workplace, and the ethos of cronyism encouraged under former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (1990s-2000s) are also cited as reasons for Italy's misogyny.
Outlines how the MeToo movement in 2017 prompted Jeanne Ponte, a French parliamentary assistant who had been keeping a record of workplace sexual harassment inside the EU parliament since 2014, to create the MeTooEP blog. Soon after the story of her recording of social harassment broke, MEPs at Strasbourg passed a resolution against sexual harassment. Over 1,000 people then signed a petition demanding enforcement of it.
Respected and long established British feminist organisation publishes research on impact of MeToo in UK, covering the 'powerful, disruptive impact' of the movement. It analyses harassment by gender and age, provides data on the public's willingness to challenge harassment, and makes recommendations on how to change the law.
Reports that universities (both student unions and the authorities) are becoming more active in trying to prevent, and taking action against, forms of harassment. But a survey published in March 2018 found 70% of female students had suffered harassment or assault and only 6% had reported it to the university. Harassment is a problem both between students and between some staff members and students.
See also: Suen, Evianne, '#MeToo movement reaches an all-time high across UK universities', 23 August 2018 https://theboar.org/2018/08/metoo-movement-sexual-uk-universities/
An account of the possible development of the #MeToo movement from four different perspectives. It analyses the need to explore the nature and consequences of power as a primordial factor influencing response to sexual harassment; the work-based campaigns in Sweden; the development of the #MeToo movement in Hungary; and the varying nature of the movement in different parts of Europe with particular emphasis on the distinction between West and East.
Kem discusses a survey showing how attitudes to social harassment vary across Europe, and also how EU countries have different laws and punishments for harassment. Notes that although the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention of 2011 prohibiting violence against women has been ratified by many West European states (though not by Germany until 2017), legal provisions, and in particular reporting rates, vary between countries. France provides for a fine of up to 30,000 euros and two years in prison, or in the case of harassment by a work superior up to three years in prison.
Discusses why MeToo was not taken up in Germany as it spread from the US to parts of Europe, until an actress went public in 2018 about a violent attempted rape by prominent film director Dieter Wedel in 1980. Her accusation led other women to follow suit, and Die Zeit revealed that the TV network Wedel worked for had buried evidence of his sexual misconduct. The article quotes a woman university professor on two main reasons for German reluctance to take up MeToo: 1) that despite Angela Merkel's long period as Chancellor women are not well represented in politics, or in top management; 2) German skepticism about cultural trends emanating from the USA.
The US feminist magazine reports that #quellavoltache (MeToo) was a central theme of annual Women's Marches and rallies in Rome, Milan and Florence. The Rome rally of hundreds of women was addressed by Asia Argento, who commented on the media abuse she had received after speaking out about being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. Representatives from the International Women's House and the Network of Women Against Violence, as well as a refugee woman activist, also spoke.
The anti-sexual harassment group Pandora's Box, composed of 3,000 women involved in the arts, called for institutional protection against harassment and demanded allegations should not be ignored. The appeal was part of a campaign to support the dancer Carmen Tome, who had accused a curator at a cultural centre in Alicante of groping her. The group was still organising itself and considering both educational and legal means of preventing gender violence.
Poirier reflects on the open letter published in Le Monde, which was signed by 100 French women, including the film star Catherine de Neuve, and became news around the world. The letter suggested the Hollywood campaign was intolerant and promoted censorship, and that MeToo reflected a puritanical strain in feminism, and led to intolerance of those not politically correct. It asserted that 'rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or cackhandedly, is not'. The letter provoked anger among feminists, with many younger French feminists accusing the signatories of being over-privileged and not caring about victims of rape and harassment. Poirier argues that, although the letter included clumsy and provocative wording, it did represent an important strand in French feminism, inspired by Simone de Beauvoir, which is still the mainstream position. It is opposed to a younger American-inspired movement, which is seen by more traditional French feminists as extremist, and leading to censorship of the arts. Poirier also points out that although the Le Monde letter is usually identified with Catherine de Neuve, its initiator was Abnousse Shalmani, a 41 year old Iranian refugee from Ayatollah Khomeini's regime, who had herself experienced rape, and who had found in French culture the inspiration to become free 'as a woman and a sexual being'. Shalmani said on French radio after the letter's publication that the signatories did not dismiss those who had the courage to speak out against Weinstein, or their struggle, but wished to 'add our voice' to the debate.
The article discusses the high levels of harassment endured by women in South-East and Eastern Europe, revealed in a 2019 OSCE survey, and the difficulty of speaking out. It gives the example Marija Lukic, who accused the former president of a municipality in Serbia and was insulted by 50 of his supporters when she went to court. The author also comments very briefly on short but ultimately unsuccessful social media MeToo campaigns in Poland and Romania and suggests that in Hungary the response has been confined to 'liberal and cultural circles'. She records that the Council of Europe's 2011 Istanbul Convention on preventing violence against women was ratified by Serbia in November 2017 and Croatia in 2018, but has not been ratified by the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Moldova, Ukraine or Russia.