President Milanović Responds to Criticism from Women’s Rights Organisation

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“I said, and I stand by it, that we have a problem that needs discussing and that women, victims of sexual harassment, should be encouraged to expose anyone, especially bullies who do such things from the position of power. What we do not need are dogmas from associations that do not allow thinking, let alone dialogue, that differs from theirs,” Milanović wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

During a visit to the earthquake-devastated town of Petrinja on Friday, Milanović was asked by the press to comment on accusations of sexual harassment at university faculties and the public television service. He said that that is something that ruins people’s lives and that we should fight against it at all times.

But he also said that when “such cries come from Hollywood actresses who do not get out of bed for less than five million dollars” he does not see it as something he should pay attention to, but  “the problem is when this is done by working women, clerical workers, mothers and academy students because it is common knowledge how one can advance in those systems.”

“It’s not the same if a spoilt star remembers certain things after thirty years after her bank account has burst … or if this comes from a woman or a girl who is trying to make it in life by following the same rules as men but can’t because some man has been harassing her for years,” he added.

B.A.B.E. told the commercial television channel Nova TV on Friday evening that Milanović was not educated to judge what sort of a person a victim of violence should be, rich or poor, because “a victim of violence is a victim of violence and they never asked for it.”  They said that with his statement Milanović was belittling Hollywood actresses and demanded an apology.

“Like the forgotten Hollywood actresses they are now defending from me, the representatives of this association forget that I am always ready to speak my mind. … I don’t know what sort of laboratory education one should pass to applaud, without thinking, everything that B.A.B.E. say, but I know that their Hollywood-style (re)actions will not solve the problem of sexual harassment in Croatia,” Milanović responded.


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