Friday, 18. April 2014
27. 11. 12. - 17:00
Pressure is growing against a decision by prosecutors not to charge a man with sexual harassment after he pinched a woman's bottom, because sexual harassment can only involve a woman's breasts or genitals.
The bizarre ruling has enraged many people not just feminist groups and this week many took to the streets in Graz where some of the women turned the tables by symbolically using a fake hand to pinch men on the bottom.
Graz woman's affairs spokeswoman Maggie Jansenberger said: "The men that I symbolically touched on the bottom with the fake hand did turn round very quickly which to me indicated that it was unpleasant. It was an infringement of their bodily integrity."
She added that when a man is told no and carries on anyway – that is harassment - and the courts and prosecutors needed to accept that.
Prosecutors had dropped sexual harassment charges because the bottom is "not regarded as a sex organ".
The incident happened at the start of October when the 43-year-old woman who works in a bank in Graz was waiting at a crossing when a man came alongside and said: "Wow, a woman with a fantastic arse, can I touch it?"
When she told him no he grabbed her backside anyway and squeezed.
The woman, who is the mother of two children, said that she had slapped him and tried to run away and then he had run after her and threatened her. She said: "He told me that he would not accept being hit by a woman." Police intervened and the woman pressed charges of sexual assault.
Local prosecutor Hansjörg Bacher however said that the charges had been dropped because the conditions that needed to be met had not been fulfilled.
He said: "The incident itself needs to involve physical contact with sexual parts, simply touching the woman on the bottom does not qualify as sexual harassment. That would not have been the case if he had for example grabbed her breasts or touched her improperly in the sexual region."
The woman said the decision by prosecutors was a second insult completely incomprehensible. She said that she had had to get counselling after the very public assault by the man and is demanding they reconsider the decision."
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