Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Banja Luka, in cooperation with the partner organization Center of Women’s Rights Zenica, organized a street action today, November 8, in Zenica on the occasion of the campaign “Sexual Extortion is Corruption. Let’s Break the Silence!” and on that occasion they spoke with the citizens and distributed relevant material to them.
Svjetlana Marković Ramić, project manager from the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, emphasized that the goal of this campaign is to introduce general BH public with the term sexual extortion, which represents a special form of corruption.
As she explained to media representatives and interested citizens, in order for sexual extortion to be considered a corrupt act, unlike sexual harassment or mobbing, three elements must be present. These are power relations, that is, there must be an authority (abuse of position) that forces a certain sexual activity – implicit or explicit, from the victim, that is, from a subordinate person. Also, there must be a “this for that situation”, in which the perpetrator requests a certain service in exchange for a certain benefit.
“What is particularly important for sexual extortion, which was shown by our research, and we conducted it as the first of its kind, is that it has a gender component. Therefore, little girls, girls and women are particularly affected by sexual extortion”, emphasizes Marković Ramić.
Selma Badžić, program assistant of the Center of Women’s Rights Zenica, pointed out that they support this action of HCA from Banjaluka, because it is necessary to raise awareness about the existence of sexual extortion.
“Sexual extortion is a combination of sexual extortion and corruption, as a form of violence that, unfortunately, is not formally legally recognized in BiH. This kind of action is precisely motivated by the lack of legal solutions”, says Selma Badžić.
During the street action, some citizens of Zenica said that they had heard that there was sexual extortion, especially, as they stated, during employment in the public and private sector, but that “everything remains at the level of a public secret, which many know about, but are silent about.”
We remind you that, in addition to Zenica, street actions have already been held in Sarajevo, Bijeljina and Banja Luka, and several more cities throughout BiH are planned.
These activities are implemented within the project “Citizens in the Fight against Silent Corruption” supported by CCI and USAID.