Young Women Go Topless Protesting Sex Trade, Claim Torture by KGB – Salem

 

Feb-01-2012 03:10

Salem-News.com

"This is the only way to be heard in this country. If we staged simple protests with banners, then our claims would not have been noticed" - FEMEN

(SALEM) - I just heard about the groups of topless women in the Ukraine, part of The Femen Movement, who are taking a stand by taking their shirts off in public protest at events that quite naturally, have garnered their share of attention.

The idea was presented to me as something slightly humorous and very entertaining, and yet that is not the case at all, sadly.

Founded in Kyiv in 2008, FEMEN quickly gained international attention by organizing topless protests.

Their goal is to expose problems stemming from sex tourism, international marriage agencies, sexism and other social, national and international ills, Wikipedia explains.

In truth they don't receive a great deal of popular support in Ukraine and they often draw scorn from members of the public who view their activity as crude and unacceptable.

However the women do receive funding from private entities and in fact they are very popular among those interested in social change.

They pay the price for their activism and that bears out in the photos included with this article.

In fact there are so many photos of FEMEN girls being arrested that I am astounded. I didn't know that nudity was such a big crime and I really don't believe violent police intervention is a healthy answer.

However people who bring about vast political change rarely if ever do so without receiving their share of bruises. These women are giving much of themselves for the benefit of others.

And while I don't mean this as some kind of random domestic insult, I have to say that their spirit is very different from anything I have ever seen or heard of in the United States.

Again though, there is a cost, and the public, political officials and police ensure that the women and their unorthodox methods of protest receive plenty of grief.

On 21 December 2011, three women, Inna Shevchenko, Oksana Shachko and Aleksandra Nemchinova, disappeared on a Monday evening after being detained by Belarusian police.

The women, who remained missing more than 24-hours, said they had been kidnapped by six men, six hours after being released from police custody.

The men that the activists say kidnapped them, reportedly admitted that they were members of the country’s secret service, however the men did not identify themselves by name.

The first woman to make a statement after being released, was Inna Shevchenko. She said the three had been abducted, blindfolded and thrown into a bus, which drove throughout the night.

Inna says the men used knives to cut their hair, forced them to strip, and she said the kidnappers also made them hold up posters with a swastika.

The worst thing according to Inna, is that the men soaked them in oil and threatened to set them on fire.

The FEMEN activists said that when the men had had enough, they drove away, leaving the three women naked in the woods without money, without a phone, so they wandered in the forest and eventually reached a small village where locals helped them, providing both shelter and a phone.

For their part, the authorities at first denied knowing anything about the incident, then later claimed that the story could not be true.

"A gross provocation is developing. We'll see in the near future who is behind it,” an official said at a press conference in Minsk. "They can say whatever they want," referring to FEMEN’s allegations against the KGB. "Our people did not touch them!"

The core majority of the women in this group are 18-20 year old female university students in Kyiv. They're trying to make a difference in a world where epidemic problems like sex slavery and human trafficking receive little attention if any, from media.

FEMEN protests a number of issues that haunt women and one is a problem well known in Saudi Arabia, where women are forced to wear burqas and banned from the most simple right, driving.

The young women kick started the group's efforts four years ago and today they continue to work with their expanding, now international ranks of supporters who are striving in solidarity to bring safety and security to women by baring their chests and exposing far more than they could ever possess under their clothes.

It must take immense courage to do something like this, and to keep the activities up even in the cold winter months. We know something very negative happened to the three women in Belarus, and one can only wonder how much abuse other members have received in the hands of authorities, which seems to be the way their demonstrations always end.

The folks at RT report that the wild bra-free rallies in Ukraine have been making international headlines for several years.

One of the chief subjects of the protests has been the alarming rate of prostitution, particularly with the upcoming Euro 2012 football tournament. FEMEN says they seek to expose flaws in Ukraine’s politics.

"We understood that classic feminism no longer works," Inna Shevchenko said. "It is, if you excuse me, impotent. But what we do brings the desired effect. That’s why not only Ukraine needs us, but Europe as well. We are planning to take over the world."

The FEMEN movement has faced many uphill battles, but they have received a good reception from many in their home country, Ukraine as well as in Europe.

"We receive lots of letters telling us to continue fighting religious injustice towards women, especially in Muslim states. That’s where we want to develop," Alexandra Shevchenko told RT.

"We are even ready to go to Iran or any other Islamic state to stage our topless protests, knowing all risks it could entail for us."

The network for women that started in Ukraine has now taken root in Europe and even stretches as far as the United States. FEMEN says that with sex-tourism, prostitution, and the ‘mail-order bride’ industry still plaguing Ukrainian society, they still have a lot demons to fight at home.

Some of the images with this article do include nudity, those photos are located below. If you don't want to see them then you are forewarned.

Understand that this is not a story about sex, I mean it is but it isn't... these women aren't taking their shirts off for the sake of sex, their reasoning is quite the opposite and I personally support and admire their cause.

Tim King, summer 2008, covering the Iraq War

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 102 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com



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About FEMEN

The mission of the "FEMEN" movement is to create the most favourable conditions for the young women to join up into a social group with the general idea of the mutual support and social responsibility, helping to reveal the talents of each member of the movement.

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