Intimate footage (personal life) of important people have long been a political weapon in Georgia and have been used several times in recent years. As an example, we can state the case that happened in March 2016. Yes, you remember correctly, it's that exact footage that Bidzina Ivanishvili was so surprised about, stating that he doesn't remember any of it happening. This particular leak has been in investigation for more than 3 years now, without any success. But we digress from the actual issue we're going to discuss with you. The interesting fact is that, most of the time, the targets of such crimes are women.
Many have an easy answer to this question: It's the taboo that exists in society about women's sexuality. According to the head of “Sapari” union Baia Pataraia, this taboo exists because a part of society “doesn’t perceive a woman as a creature in her own right, she’s always directly connected to a man and is considered as his property.”
“It can be her father, husband, boyfriend etc. - a woman’s sexuality is solely considered in relation to that man, the woman must have permissions from him. This is why the root of the taboo is inequality. If we perceive men and women as equals, then of course we should also regard issues related to sexuality equally,so that a woman isn’t considered as a mere carrier of somebody’s honor. It is widely considered within our society that every woman must only have one partner and that one partner should exclusively be her husband. If a woman had more than one sexual partner in her lifetime, she's called loose. Plus, sex is somehow considered derogatory for women, and in such environment, viewing intimate sexual footage harms a woman's reputation, in social, as well as political environment. Thus, their own sexuality is used against them in politics”, says Baia Pataraia.
The engagement of women in politics has long been an immediate issue. Georgia is the member of many international agreements and regulations, the aim of which is the abolition of discrimination against women and promotion of gender equality. The government of Georgia is obliged to ensure women's equal participation in the governing structures of the country and increase the numbers of women handling top-level positions.
Alas, at this moment the country is not really handling given obligations. According to the study conducted by ISFED, during the 2016 Elections, 37% of candidates were women. But on the other hand, women that were up for majoritarian elections were only 17.69% of the whole electoral pool.
In 2016, out of 150 MP’s, only 24 were women. According to the data collected from the end of 2018, Georgia is on the 126th place out of 193 countries, when it comes to the percentage of women in the government. In 2017, during the local self-governance elections, out of 2058 members, only 277 were women.
Baia Pataraia’s opinion is shared by the bishop of the Georgian Evangelist-Baptist Church, Rusudan Gotsiridze.
“The blackmail of a woman is extremely possible, not only because she might have a rich sexual life, but also because she has one at all. These women are not getting more powerful because they become politicians; on the contrary, they become vulnerable. The more people recognize who a woman is and what she represents, the easier she becomes to recognize in such footage.”
In most cases concerning the question of premarital sex, many refuse partaking because they abide by their religious beliefs. But famous priest Father Petre, for example, considers the sin of lust to be equally heavy for both sexes.
“These stereotypes, which were deeply rooted into the mentality of our ancestors, that the men have the right to be free in their sexual behavior, but women don't, are extremely dated and distorted from the truth. These dogmas need to cease their existence, and we as a society need to stand against them, as they have become our undisputed ways of life, and, most of the times norms become firmer than faith. We must definitely confront them.”
The fact that these problems are much more miscellaneous and that it’s not just female politicians who are affected, could be easily witnessed by the community when last August, in a small village called Natanebi, a 16 year old girl committed suicide: a 22 year old man was blackmailing and threatening to share their intimate conversations with the public.
As soon as this tragedy happened, there was an obvious undertone in various media outlets suggesting that maybe this girl deserved the public judgment after all, which symbolizes the prejudices existing in our society. As the “MediaChecker” concludes, those undertones reinforced the very stereotypes that were one of the reasons for the victim’s death.
Rusudan Gotsiridze is confident that in order to extinguish this problem, parents and children should start discussing the “uncomfortable issues”.
“Little girls are that easily blackmailed, first of all because, they’re women, and also because they’re way too young. So, instead of informing their parents that someone is trying to endanger them, they shy away from the talk… Parents and children should be able to talk about sex. Many times, I’ve heard from young girls how scared they were of their first period. Some thought that they had cancer, some - kidney failure, etc. Plus, the “becoming a man” (losing virginity to a prostitute) tradition is still holding strong in our society. Considering all this, how do you expect these people to recognize sex as normal human behavior?”
The founder of the new political center “Girchi” Zurab Japaridze believes that, in order to overcome the taboo, people simply need to have more sex.
Fun fact for the end of this article: According to the book “The Penguin Atlas of Human Sexual Behavior” written by medical science doctor Judith Mackay, there are around 120 million sexual acts happening every day around our planet.
Take notice that this book was published in the year 2000 and back then the human population was only 6 billion.