Creating a movement to fight sexual harassment, Ana’s story, FYR Macedonia

Ana Vasileva is a women’s rights activist and a member of the feminist collective, Fight Like a Woman, living and working in Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic (fYR) of Macedonia. A contributor to UN Women’s Not only on March 8th initiative, which urges a year-round focus on gender equality issues, Vasileva works with UN Women’s Skopje office to organise gender equality events and debates. 

When Vasileva published a blog post about what she calls the “rape culture” in fYR Macedonia, she was cyberbullied and threatened on Twitter and social media. Her post was inspired by a trending twitter hashtag #TheyCalledHer (#ЈаВикале) which was packed with sexism, and misogyny under the pretext of humour. 

That’s when Vasileva decided to join Fight Like a Woman, an informal feminist collective. Together with them and other feminist activists, and inspired by the #MeToo campaign, they began in 2018 #СегаКажувам, #ISpeakUpNow, a social campaign to share their and other Macedonian and Balkan women’s sexual harassment stories. 

In the first day alone, #ISpeakUpNow generated 200 stories and spawned a massive social discussion on sexual harassment and violence against women in fYR Macedonia and the Balkans. 

In this short film, Vasileva talks about her experience as a feminist activist, discusses #ISpeakUpNow and steps going forward to fight sexual harassment and protect and support survivors.