Updated 5.45pm, adds shadow minister's tweet
A video showing a woman being pelted with hundreds of eggs as she stands facing a wall horrified women’s rights activists on Sunday, despite one of the organisers insisting it happened with her consent.
The undated video, taken at a bachelor party, began circulating on WhatsApp chat groups over the weekend.
In it, a woman who is known for performing at bachelor parties, wearing a skimpy bikini, stands facing a wall with a man in a bathing suit and goggles besides her, as men throw several cartons of eggs at them. At least one young child is visible in the footage.
Activists posting on a women’s group on Facebook expressed consternation and urged people to report it as potential abuse.
“Are people allowed to harm others even if they want to be harmed?” asked one.
"An illegal act carried out without the victim's refusal is still a crime," replied another, urging the original poster to report the video.
One of the party organisers however insisted that the video was being taken out of context and that the woman had given her explicit consent to the pelting.
“It was all paid for, with her full consent and without forcing [her],” he wrote.
Organisers had paid her well following the private event, given her food and drink and paid for her taxi home, the man added.
Times of Malta is not publishing the video and has reported it to the police.
Equality Minister Edward Zammit-Lewis condemned the behaviour on Twitter saying this was not a matter of what was legal, but of what was acceptable. "Such behaviour, filmed and then publicly circulated, against a human being is totally reprehensible," he said.
Shadow minister Claudette Buttigieg said in another tweet there were people who thought money bought them the right to humiliate others and strip them of their dignity.
Lawyer and Women’s Rights Foundation chair Lara Dimitrijevic told Times of Malta the issue was not solely whether the woman had given her consent, but that the men in the video felt “privileged and entitled to assault and humiliate a person” because they had paid for the service.
“They own her and they can do as they please with her. For the time they bought her she is their ‘property’,” Dr Dimitrijevic said.
“There can never be consent to dehumanising a person and degrading their dignity if a monetary transaction took place.
“This is not only a matter of law. Such behaviour is symptomatic of a patriarchal, insular culture, where the privileged few think that they can do what they want. This can only be changed by dealing with the core of the issue, changing the culture which permits, tolerates, accepts and normalises such behaviour.”