In parts of the Czech Republic, people observe an ancient ritual:
On the morning of Easter Monday, men and boys whip women of all ages, around the legs with special whips made out of twisted willow branches.
The women reward the men for this with a painted Easter egg. The symbolism is pretty clear: the whipping, say Czechs, ensures the woman stays fertile and beautiful.
The beating is supposed to be ritualistic: a light tap. But of course, it’s different in practice. Men and boys grab things more effective for beating than a willow branch, and inflict real pain. Women of all ages are targeted. It’s considered “rude” to overlook an elderly woman. Ah, inclusion.
Is this a harmless holiday practice, or is it reflective of the country’s attitude toward women?
Domestic violence is a serious problem in the Czech Republic, says Ms Marksova-Tominova. Under Czech law, beating your marital partner is not a crime unless she (or he) is so badly injured that she cannot work for at least seven days – and parliament has repeatedly rejected proposals to change the law.
Being unable to work for six days is no big deal. But if you’re hurt so badly that you can’t work for seven days, now that’s just wrong.