Second stop: Zagreb, Croatia
We reached Zagreb after a long travelling day: Our day started at 4 am at the station in Gliwice from where we took the train to Krakow. Then we continued via bus with a lunch stop in Vienna to the capital of Croatia. After our belated arrival in the hostel we were happy to rest to be ready for the next day.
AEGEE-Zagreb offered us a new challenge: our first workshop in a highschool! After lunch in the student canteen of the university of Zagreb we got the chance to meet two classes from Ban Josip Jelačić high school in Zaprešić, a town close to Zagreb, to discuss about Gender based violence in the digital world.
Compared to the delivered workshop in Gliwice, the 16-years old students gave us the chance to look at the topic from another perspective. We felt that they were much more aware and also affected by the issues we presented since they are more active in Online Social Networks. We empowered them to tackle these issues, showed them ways on how to react and also how to educate themselves on the topic of digital violence and discrimination. During the workshop there was even a journalist from the local TV station present that interviewed us!
After the workshop we got to explore the little town with Valerija, the local organiser from AEGEE-Zagreb and learn about Croatian history and their famous leader Ban Josip Jelačić that lived in Zaprešić. Back in Zagreb we interviewed a student from the Faculty of Philosophy that offered us interesting insights of the situation of gender equality in Croatia.
For the rest of the day we explored Zagreb, enjoyed the sunny weather, had traditional Croatian food for dinner and made friends with our roommates from the hostel.
Our second day was rainy, but nevertheless we were motivated to deliver our second workshop about the Istanbul Convention, especially since that meant to meet some well-known, but also new faces from AEGEE-Zagreb. We had very interesting discussions about the treaty itself, but also about the implementation of it in Croatia. While explaining the different kinds of violence, that are covered by the Istanbul Convention like physical or psychological violence, but also female genital mutilation or forced marriages and forced abortion (Article 32 to 42 of the Convention), one of the participants opened the discussion about why banned abortion is not part of the treaty. We came to the conclusion that banned abortion is not considered as gender based violence in sense of physical integrity, but more a violation of a women’s self-determination.
During an open discussion our participants shared stories about the protests that were going on while Croatia hesitated to ratify the Convention – an inspiring example of how demonstrations provoke actions.
Another gratifying fact that they shared was that Croatian helplines and NGOs that fight for women’s rights were very active at the beginning of the pandemic and started campaigning, even on national TV to inform victims of domestic violence on where to find help.
We finished our workshop with the conclusion that the topic of gender equality has to be tackled much more by politicians since civil society, including NGOs are raising enough awareness on the topic, but the legislation part is still missing.
In the evening we met even more people from AEGEE-Zagreb, which was amazing! We had a great night.
The hours before our departure to Budapest we visited Samobor, a small town close to Zagreb, where we just enjoyed the sun, good food and awesome company.
Our second stop was amazing, made us even more excited about all the discussions that are ahead of us and taught us Croatian spirit – hvala puno!