World Cup Marred By Rash of Sexual Assault Incidents

Sexual Harassment
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Human rights activists are condemning the increasingly frequent acts of harassment against female reporters at the World Cup games in Russia.

Several female reporters have been groped and kissed by passing fans as the correspondents recorded news reports on the streets. The incidents have been slammed as “unacceptable” by the United Nations, according to Yahoo News.

A statement released by the U.N. Women’s Brazilian office called the constant attacks “an embarrassment”:

It is unacceptable the deliberate intention of some Brazilian fans to sexually harass women during the World Cup, using embarrassment, deception, and thus violating the human rights of women. With low slang words, they reduced women to sexual objects in the demonstration of how misogyny, which even underlies the culture of rape, takes different forms and has no borders, occurring in an event that aims to promote the integration of peoples and feelings of a union for sport. To Russian women and women of all nationalities, U.N. Women Brazil expresses its solidarity.

At least three female reporters have been manhandled by fans while live on the air. In one case Sport TV journalist Julia Guimarães was shocked when a fan tried to run up and kiss her as she reported on the World Cup’s Senegal-Japan match. In another, Colombian journalist Julieth Gonzalez Theran was kissed by a fan as she reported in the Russian city of Saransk. In yet a third case, Swedish World Cup reporter Malin Wahlberg was grabbed by a fan, kissed and groped as she reported on the opening game in the city of Nizhny Novgorod.

For her part, Theran said that something needs to be done about the worrisome trend.

“I had been at the scene for two hours to prepare for the broadcast, and there had been no interruptions. When we went live, this fan took advantage of the situation,” Theran told DW. But afterward, when I checked to see if he was still there, he was gone.”

“For me, it is an isolated incident,” The Colombian reporter added. “There are always fans that compliment you and behave respectfully. This one went too far. We must clearly deal with this problem.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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