News / Europe

Ukraine Feminists Campaign Against Sex Tourism

James Brooke
At first, protests by Ukrainian feminist group Femen were ignored by the media.  But two years ago the women started taking off their shirts.  In recent months, their tactic has spread to France, Canada, and Brazil.

Back home, in a basement office in downtown Kyiv, Oleksandra Shevchenko, a Femen founder, rebuts critics who say Femen protesters attract media attention for the wrong reasons.

“When we mixed nakedness, intelligence and our ideas, we saw that it is working,” she says.  “People saw this contradiction, they are not ready to see, and to listen to women, and to see aggressive women, naked, aggressive women.”

Coming from Eastern Europe, Ukraine’s Femen and Russia’s Pussy Riot band represent a new kind of feminist protest, theatrical and radical.  In Kyiv, activists train regularly for protests.  Behind the training is anger that Eastern European women are 30 years behind Western European women, in salaries and in job discrimination by employers.

“They say, 'You will get married in a few years, or even like, in a few months you will be pregnant, like you are not a good worker, I don’t want to have you in my office,” Shevchenko says. “Or, like the second way to work there, they say that you have to sleep with me, we have to have sex.  And we can do nothing.”

In June, Femen protested Ukraine's co-hosting of the European football (soccer) championships.  They argued some fans would also visit Ukrainian brothels and strip clubs.

Shevchenko says, “We have a lot of sex tourists here in Ukraine.  Because nobody cares about that, nobody wants to stop this problem.”

The sex industry thrives in Ukraine, a country where women score high in beauty and low in income.

“It is really easy to become a prostitute in Ukraine, even for me, or for other girls,” notes Shevchenko.  “You just need to make this one step to become a prostitute.  I have a lot of invitations from a lot of brothels, from different strip clubs.”

Oksana Shachko, a veteran Femen activist, goes a step further, attacking Internet international dating sites, sometimes called mail-order bride sites.

“There are many websites that advertise Ukrainian women, because Ukraine girls are beautiful.  But, unfortunately, many are undereducated and want to become a wife of a rich man, their knight on a white horse,” she says.  “But in actuality, it is only like exporting human flesh, and it is illegal.  We are trying to explain to these girls that it is not a real way to a good life. “

Shevchenko, 24, has to juggle her feminism with the traditional expectations of her mother and grandmother.

“They imagine for me another life,” says Shevchenko, who grew up in a mid-sized city in Western Ukraine.  “They wanted to see me as a wife and a mother.  And each single day when my mom calls me she says, 'When I will have my grandchildren, did you find a man?'  And I do not know what to answer her.”

But Shevchenko believes she can have it all.  A few weeks ago, she helped to open Femen’s new office in Paris.  She says she met several interesting Frenchmen, men she calls ‘male feminists.’

You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Guest from: USA
November 06, 2012 1:59 PM
" But, unfortunately, many are undereducated and want to become a wife of a rich man, their knight on a white horse,” she says. “But in actuality, it is only like exporting human flesh, and it is illegal. We are trying to explain to these girls that it is not a real way to a good life. “

Yes but it's an easy life and one which is far more profitable than earning money like most men must. It's also a personal choice which feminist gender-bigot goons will never really be able to prohibit. Besides the real intent here by socially correct women to corner the market so that they can sell sex wholesale through the institution of feminist-subjugated, reproductive, marriage and family law.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs