Few women outside the genre of pornography have bared their breasts as often and for such good reason as 31-year-old Ukrainian activist Oksana Shachko. As one of the original three founders of the activist group Femen, she has bared her bosom to popes
and princes, to Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel to protest policies and ideologies.
Shachko's body was discovered in her apartment in Paris on Monday, and activist friends and family say they believe she committed suicide. Friends who knew Shachko
well told The Daily Beast that she lived in a labyrinth of painful situations--personal issues, pressure from from her home country and from the reality she found herself in in France--and that she was suffering.
Shachko founded Femen with Anna
Hutsol and Sacha Shevchenko in April 2008, when they were just 17 and looking for an outlet for their anger. Rather than joining those in the streets with Molotov cocktails and glass bottles, they used their sexuality in what has since been defined as
sextremism protests aiming for a complete victory over the patriarchy. She was the first to pull off her shirt and show her bare breasts to a crowd during a political action on Ukraine's Independence Day, Aug. 24, 2009.
The women inspired a global
movement of bare-breasted women to write slogans across their chests and put a ring of flowers in their hair to make a point
Two members of the protest group Femen have been arrested after disrupting a controversial Muslim conference in Paris.
The topless women, with the words Nobody makes me submit , painted on their chests -- stormed the stage at the event in
The stunt saw the women, themselves of muslim origin, shout feminist slogans in Arabic and French as two Imams addressed the audience, before they were physically removed from the stage by a number of men, who were seen to be giving the
girls a good kicking.
The women burst onto the stage as two Imams addressed the audience. Femen leader Inna Shevchenko says the activists received death threats from the audience. Shevchenko told Huffington Post UK the protesters were from Muslim
families and had raised their voices in disgust at this public hate speech. She said:
The Imams were very careful in their speech this time as the public outrage by the event was loud. The Imam was addressing
the question of whether women should be beaten or not and said that as Mohammed didn't beat women, the men shouldn't do it as well.
Just a minute later, Femen activists were brutally beaten up by the organisers of the event on the
The conference, which reportedly addressed the role of women in Islam, was subject to a Change.org petition calling for it to be cancelled. The petition states guests included: Fundamentalist preachers such as Abu Anas
Nader, known for having legitimised marital rape and the wider submission of women.
According to the Telegraph the women were released after being questioned by prosecutors who will continue to investigate the incident. It reports the
conference organisers say they will press charges against them. However there is no mention of charges against the men who assaulted the girls.
Three European FEMEN activists who protested topless outside the Tunisian Palace of Justice have been sentenced to four months in prison in Tunisia. The two French women and one German are members of the protest group and were charged with indecency.
Their Tunisian lawyer, Souhaib Bohri, said:
The three Femen protesters are shocked by this sentence. The judge has given them each four months in prison for violating decency and modesty
prison sentence was seen as harsh by many who thought that the women would be acquitted or fined and deported from the country.
The Femen France Facebook page responded to the verdict:
With this decision the
Tunisian powers have shown us their own theocratic savagery and demonstrated to the whole world their neglect of international democratic conventions... the women's movement Femen will not leave its activists to rot in prison, it calls on the world to
stand up for the brave freedom fighters!
Update: EU Response
14th June 2013. From vagazette.com
The European Union has said that the jail sentences handed down to three European feminist activists who staged a topless protest in Tunisia were too severe and urged the Islamist-led government to reform its laws on freedom of expression. A spokesman
for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said:
The EU is surprised by the severity of the judgment. To ensure ... freedom of expression, the EU underlines the need to revise laws inherited from the previous
regimes, which can be used to restrict it.
The criticism seems a bit fake given that the UK has jailed the Naked Rambler for more than 6 years.
A court in Tunisia has freed three European feminists
jailed for staging a topless protest, their lawyer has said. Bahri Souhaib said their sentences had been suspended, and that they would leave Tunisia as soon as possible.
The women - Pauline Hillier, Marguerite Stern and Josephine Markmann -
argued that there had been nothing sexual or offensive about their protest, the first of its kind seen in the Arab world.
I didn't think it was going to shock Tunisians to that extent. Given the consequences, I would never do it again. We want
to return to our country and our loved ones, Ms Hillier told the court on Wednesday.
Femen report on the Tunisian trial of the 3 Femen members detained after a topless protest:
Today, the court of Tunisia extended jail time for activists FEMEN until June 12 by moving the trial. The trial of activists increasingly losing
its legal features and more and more is starting to look like bandits kidnapping.
In the courtroom activists have been put in bags on their heads, wrapped in the blanket, the judge banned the photos and video.
According to the human rights
activist Patrick Klugman, who came from Paris to represent the interests of the FEMEN:
I am horrified. Without giving speech to activists of FEMEN, the court listened only Salafist organizations which are not even the
defendants in this case! Fair trial did not take place because the accused have not been released from custody, and they were not even listened to.
Just before the trial for FEMEN in Tunis French sextremists staged a topless prayer to
Allah for the early release of Tunisian prisoners.
FEMEN activists prayed in front of the Tunisian Embassy in Paris. In religious Ecstasy activists were shouting Amina Akbar! Pauline Akbar! ', ' Marguerite Akbar! , Josephine
Akbar! , FEMEN women's spring goes! .
Meanwhile three members of a radical Ukrainian feminist group have been expelled from Tunisia on suspicion of planning another topless protest in front of the court where their colleagues were being
tried on charges of public indecency, the interior ministry said on Wednesday.
Three activists from the feminist group Femen have been arrested after baring their breasts in Tunis in what the group described as its first topless protest in an Islamic state.
The women from German and France were detained after taking
off their coats outside the Ministry of Justice on May 29, revealing their naked chests scrawled with: Breasts Feed Revolution and holding signs saying: Fuck your morals!
They said their action was in support of the Tunisian
woman, Amina Tyler, who posted topless pictures of herself online as a form of protest. Tyler was protesting against hard-line Islamists earlier this month and is currently awaiting trial.
The Femen activists' May 29 action quickly drew a crowd
until police led the women away.
Three European activists who protested topless in front of the Tunis courthouse in solidarity with a Tunisian member have been charged
with offending public decency and threatening public order, their attorney said.
The members of Femen were demonstrating for the release of Amina Sboui, who angered conservatives with a protest in the religious center of Kairouan in which she
allegedly scrawled the name of the group on a cemetery wall.
The protesters, two French women and a German, were forcibly removed from the courthouse during Sboui's trial on Thursday by police as angry Tunisians demonstrated against them and
Lawyer Souhaib Bahri said they would appear in court June 5 and face up to six months in prison.
Two activists from the Femen feminist group protested on stage during the final of Heidi Klum's casting show Germany's Next Top Model in Mannheim, Germany.
Klum got quite the surprise on the final episode of Germany's Next Top Model
when the stage was suddenly ambushed by two topless women throwing their arms in the air with Heidi Horror Picture Show written on their chests.
There has been no clear explanation as to what the two semi-naked women were exactly
attempting to protest.
The model reality show continued business as usual after the interruption.