She is young, beautiful, blonde, and ready to go topless. But she doesn’t aim at modeling career. Femen activists, wants to make Ukraine a better place. Especially for women.Shevchenko (20), one of the
Despite the prostitution being illegal, Ukraine is becoming the leading European sex tourism destination with about 12,000 prostitutes and the $700 million sex industry. While the government and the police are keeping their eyes widely closed, the number of so-called sexpatriots who visit the country rises.
“Prostitution and sex tourism are booming business. Instead of combating it, the current government is interested in its further development. It brings the money. Never mind the exploited women.” Shevchenko told Allvoices.
Going topless to combat the women exploitation sounds contradictory. At least, to those who haven’t experienced the women’s life in a developing country as Ukraine is.
Shevchenko, the journalism student, explains in fluent English: “Our form of protest, topless, is our gun that we are fighting for our rights with. We are trying to show that we have an effective weapon which doesn’t do any harm…People look, get shocked and then they try to understand.”
The Femen activists and their topless protests gain fame all around the world. Some accuse them of playing on their sexuality, some support them, some do understand and some don’t. However, their voice is being heard. And the Ukrainian government doesn’t like it.
After the latest protest in Kiev, during the visit of Russian PM , Shevchenko and one other protester were kept in prison for two days. Since there is, accordingly, no law that banes topless protests, they were charged with hooliganism. The young Ukrainian democracy showed all its weakness.
“When I was in prison five men from the State Security came and told me I should not be Femen activist. I should stop taking part in the topless protests, they said. Otherwise, I could have problems at the university. My parents could have problems as well, they threatened me.”
The engagement with Femen already cost her job in the Kiev city government. But neither she nor her colleagues will give up. Instead, their agenda is just getting wider, and the Femen is to grow to a political party, which would hopefully run for the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary elections.