Strawmanning & refusing Istanbul Convention

The Senate of the Czech Republic voted narrowly not to ratify the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Only 34 of the 71 senators present voted in favour of ratification, which was not enough to achieve the required majority of 36 votes.

The failure to ratify the Convention is disappointing for victims of domestic violence in the Czech Republic, who will thus lose the tools for their protection that the international document provides. The majority of European countries have already ratified the Istanbul Convention, and the Czech Republic finds itself in a minority of countries that reject it.

Some senators and critics of the Convention have argued that Czech law already provides sufficient protection for victims of domestic violence and that ratification of the Convention would threaten the “traditional family” and allow “gender ideology” to enter schools. But the arguments against the Convention are not supported by real evidence – the Convention does not threaten the Catholic based “traditional family” in any way and the term “gender ideology” is a straw man. The Convention seeks to provide protection for people in relationships where violence occurs by introducing preventive measures, legal protection for victims and sanctions for perpetrators. Its aim is not to promote any ideology, but to provide assistance to people at risk of domestic violence.

Filip Titlbach, journalist, author and podcaster on Threads:
“What was said in the Senate:
– “we are trying to overcome the will of nature”
– “there will be an obligation to deceive children”
– “the convention says the traditional family is the enemy”
– “it will be taught that men can give birth”
– “the convention is a poisoned apple”
Hoaxes, misinformation and myths have won the day. And it is an international disgrace.”

Martin Dvořák, Minister for European Affairs, wrote on Twitter:
“Unfortunately, the Istanbul Convention did not pass the Senate. I am sorry that the Istanbul Convention has become a bogeyman for “traditional” Czech families and despite the great efforts of the Convention’s supporters, the rudder has not been turned back. It is an international disgrace. I am really angry and sorry because we are sending a very bad signal to women and girls that we do not consider it necessary to protect victims of domestic violence.”

Ratification of the Convention would symbolize that the Czech state does not accept violence against women and families – violence in Czech households is a serious problem. According to statistics, approximately one in three women and one in 14 men in the Czech Republic experience domestic violence. IKEA research shows that up to 84% of respondents think that more attention should be paid to the issue of domestic violence. At the same time, more than half of the respondents know or at least believe that they have someone in their neighbourhood who has or has had an experience of psychological or physical domestic violence.

And these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg…
“Only about eight percent of victims of domestic violence contact the police,” said Branislava Marvánová Vargová from the ROSA centre, which provides comprehensive assistance to women victims of domestic violence.

“I went to the calendar to check that we are really living in 2024 and not in the Middle Ages. Thank you to all the senators and representatives who supported the ratification of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence today.
Unfortunately, the rest have made it clear that they are not interested in combating domestic and sexual violence or in helping victims. I believe that the citizens will make it clear to them in the autumn elections that this issue is important to them. We will continue to fight to put the ideas of the Convention into practice,” said Ivan Bartoš, Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalization and Minister for Regional Development of the Czech Republic.

Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Bartoš on Twitter

Hopefully this situation will change in the future, and we will overcome the backward approach of conservatives and the Catholic Church playing (not only) “gender ideology” false card –
“all efforts to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence must be welcomed on principle, but must not be done at the expense of obscuring and challenging the natural order. In recent years there have been attempts, along with addressing the problem of violence against women, to establish a new view of the role of man, which is incompatible with the natural law, common sense and Christian experience” (Joint letter of the Bishops of the Czech and Moravian dioceses on the approval of the so-called Istanbul Convention) –
– and the Czech Republic will join the countries that have already ratified the Convention.


Member of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia & Czech Skeptics' Club Sisyfos, founding member of the Meaning of (Skeptical) Life podcast, secular humanist. Father of one new man. Television post-production by profession. And he is on BigPharma and Soros payroll.