A woman who was pelted with eggs during a bachelor’s party will likely face the same form of ridicule in the coming weeks, but the authorities say they are powerless to intervene.
A video, which sparked public outrage when it emerged on Sunday, showed the woman wearing a bikini, facing a wall as men violently hurled eggs at her. At one point, she can be heard urging them to stop, but her pleas fall on deaf ears.
Sources on Tuesday confirmed fears that the woman was considered “vulnerable” by the State authorities, but added that in recent years she had fallen through the cracks of Malta’s mental health and social welfare system.
Times of Malta can report that the bachelor party events at which the woman was brought along to perform were often organised by people who have long known her.
The woman would be brought along to perform a striptease and later be subjected to egg-pelting and other acts of ridicule, usually alongside the soon-to-be groom.
Times of Malta is informed that she expects these events to continue.
Sources in Malta’s social welfare agencies said they could not impose a social worker on a private citizen if they did not want assistance.
And, although it issued a strongly-worded statement, the equality commission said it was not conducting an investigation, and it had not reported the matter to the police.
Equality Minister Edward Zammit Lewis spoke out about the video earlier this week. Questions asking what he intended to do about the matter were not replied to by the time of writing.
Out of context
Meanwhile, one of the party organisers has insisted with Times of Malta that the video was taken out of context and that the woman had given her explicit consent to the pelting.
The University’s Department of Gender Studies said women’s dignity was being constantly trammelled in the country.
Although some advances had been made, women were still being treated as second-class citizens, to be used and abused by employers, policymakers who insisted on promoting the breadwinner’s model, State services that failed to protect women experiencing violence and men and society in general.
“In Malta, we promote gentlemen’s clubs as tourist attractions, we have been accused by international agencies of not prosecuting suspected human traffickers and of non-regulation of massage parlours, and the latest, pelting a woman with eggs, even though she begged her ‘clients’ to stop.
“This exploitation and abuse of women has gone on too long,” the department said.
It added that women had been promised dignity, respect and protection. But the reality was far different, where women were humiliated for pay on the pretext that they had consented to the act.
The department noted that the incident came to light because those who took pleasure with the public humiliation also wanted to share it.
“We are not amused... stop using and abusing us women,” the department said.