Warning: sensitive topics
After seeing her “provocative” pictures, Artyom Iskhakov raped and killed his ex-girlfriend, 19-year-old Tatiana Strakhova. Iskahakov then had sex with Strakhova’s corpse, took to social media to blame Strakhova for her murder, and finally committed suicide by hanging.
Disturbingly, many people agreed with Iskahakov and said that Strakhova was a “tease” and “asking for it”.
But men and women across Russia have had enough of the victim blaming. They have started a campaign where they post images that are often considered “sexually provocative” with the hashtag “it’s not a reason to kill”.
Here are some of the images:
In this photo, the young woman talks about how the feminist movement got her thinking about how women are treated. She describes how she could not spend time with her friends in the place she grew up because she would have to turn down unfamiliar roads until the man behind her got tired and left.
This woman explains that she is not simply following a social media trend with her post. She expresses shock at the reactions to Tatiana Strakhova’s murder, saying that victim blaming essentially sends the message that the murder was acceptable. She goes on to share a personal story of when she took professional photos in shorts with her breasts covered, someone told her that her photos were porn. She ends her post saying, “if the girl decided to lay out her [breasts] or other parts of the body – this is her business.”
This woman spoke eloquently about the absurdity behind the tragedy.
“…I’m still in deep shock because of this tragedy. I still can not believe that the comments that people write about what happened to Tanya Strakhova are real, that this is not some nasty malicious joke. I really did not think that it would come to this, but I think I forgot for a second, in what world we live. The degree of absurdity is just off scale…” “Women can take pictures of their bodies / act in porn / sell sex or they can not do it! They are free to dispose of their bodies, as they want, because these are their bodies and their decisions, which do not concern anyone else! And anything from the above is not a good idea! To hell with objectification! The body is just the body. Men need to stop perceiving women’s bodies as something due, that they are relied upon when they want. The violence and hatred that everyone faces each day can not be justified!”
Feminism in Russia has developed slowly, to say the least. As a primarily Russian Orthodox practicing country, acts of feminism are often considered to be acts against tradition instead of political statements. In fact, in 2012 the female punk band Pussy Riot performed a “punk prayer” protesting Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral and were sentenced to 3 years after being charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”. The lawyer who represented the nine people offended by the musical performance said, “All the defendants talked about being feminists and said that is allowed in the Russian Orthodox church. This does not correspond with reality. Feminism is a mortal sin.”
Perhaps the United States’ recent championing of women’s rights, specifically in regards to sexual assault, will help fuel progress in Russia. No doubt, impact from the #MeToo movement has been felt throughout the world.