The Slovenia Times

Rally held in support of victims of sexual violence


Ljubljana - Several hundred people marched through Ljubljana on Monday evening in support of victims of sexual violence in the aftermath of revelations of alleged rampant sexual abuse by the proprietor of the contemporary art gallery Fotopub and by a prominent artist who died recently.

The group gathered at the Museum Plaza before heading to the Culture Ministry, public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, Fotopub and finally the square in front of the National Assembly.

The organisers, a group called Rezistenca, which says it conducts research into sexual violence by teaching staff at university, framed the rally as an expression of support for victims and their need to process sexual abuse on their own terms.

"We understand your need for anonymity and the need to distance yourselves from people, events, institutions. We wish to tell you that you are not responsible for the violent acts committed against you, nor for anything that happened after," the organisers said on Facebook.

Protesters displayed banners with slogans such as "To the dustbin with the patriarchate", "Violence is not love" and "Consent cannot be bought".

Maja Megla, a former journalist who recently went public with her experience of sexual assault, said there were many reasons why women and girls do not report sexual abuse, including fear about repercussions and emotional consequences.

Meanwhile, Sandra Bašič Hrvatin, a journalism professor, denounced how some, including RTV Slovenija, are leveraging cases of sexual violence to wage political war, a reference to right-wing parties trying to implicate leftist parties in the Fotopub scandal.

Sexual violence against women has been in the spotlight in recent weeks after dozens of testimonies were published on an Instagram account alleging that Dušan Josip Smodej, a 28-year-old artist and Fotopub manager, had sexually abused several young women.

The police have launched an investigation and have confirmed receiving several complaints.

Just after Smodej's alleged attacks were made public, testimonies came forward by several women claiming that Roman Uranjek, a prominent contemporary artist who committed suicide in August, had long been a sexual predator who mistreated young women, which apparently many on the Ljubljana art scene had known about.

Just this weekend, a 22-year-old man brutally attacked and mauled a 20-year-old woman in Maribor, the culmination of months of stalking and the victim's refusal to engage in a relationship with him.


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