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Czech Women's Lobby wants Zeman to apologize for remarks about rape

23.1.2013 15:59, (ROMEA)
Presidential candidates Karel Schwarzenberg and Miloš Zeman appearing on the Czech Television program
Presidential candidates Karel Schwarzenberg and Miloš Zeman appearing on the Czech Television program "Václav Moravec's Questions" (Otázky Václava Moravce). (PHOTO: Czech Television)

The Czech Women's Lobby (Česká ženská lobby) wants presidential candidate Miloš Zeman to apologize for his recent remarks about rape as an evolutionary advantage. Zeman launched his bonmot during a televised debate last Friday when explaining to his opponent, the aristocrat Karel Schwarzenberg, why the nobility has degenerated. According to the Czech Women's Lobby, whose director, Jana Smiggels Kavková, has sent an open letter to Zeman, such remarks are insulting to all women.

"Do you know what the difference was between royalty and a country gentleman (zeman)? Royalty had the droit de signeur (right of first night) and degenerated because they did not have to rape their serfs, they didn't have to expend any energy in order to rape then. We country gentlemen (zemani) had to fight hard for our rights, and not only in the sexual arena, which is why we have not degenerated," Zeman said during Friday's debate on the Prima Family television channel.

The association of organizations involved in women's rights considers this remark to be completely inexcusable, unacceptable, and far beyond the borders of good taste. "Disparaging the victims of rape and other forms of violence against women is unfortunately common in our society, and it survives thanks to would-be joking remarks like yours. When spoken during a televised debate, your remarks impact many viewers, female and male," the women's association has written to Zeman.

The organization is calling for an apology. "This is an offense against all women, and not only them. You yourself are a father and husband, so respect for women should be in your interest," the representative of the Czech Women's Lobby has written in her appeal.

This was not the first such remark to have left the lips of a presidential candidate during the electoral campaign in the Czech Republic. For example, last week candidate Schwarzenberg appeared on a Czech Television discussion program where he described the situation of Civic Democratic Party (ODS) defectors being hired for jobs in state enterprises by saying that when one has a girlfriend who doesn't enjoy performing certain tasks, the gift of a beautiful necklace will strengthen the relationship. Speaking during a debate today, Schwarzenberg apologized for his remark about women.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Aktuality, Osobnosti, Politika, Prezidentské volby, Výroky, zprávy, občanské sdružení, Czech republic, Miloš Zeman, news


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