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Renate Weber, Romanian lawyer
"Oh I got angry"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 25 April, 2000, 17:42 GMT 18:42 UK
Playboy 'joke' angers Romanians
Anti-Playboy demonstration
Romanians show their anger at the Playboy article
A row has erupted in Romania following a recent article in the Romanian edition of Playboy magazine giving advice on how to beat women.

We have to make women aware they don't have to suffer in silence

Iasmin Lodi, Romanian Civic Education Project

The article, written from the point of view of a fictional policeman, was titled "How to Beat Your Wife Without Leaving Marks".

It described a step-by-step procedure for abuse, implying that good beatings could lead to great sex.

Initially, deputy editor Mihai Galatanu claimed the article had been an April Fool's joke, adding that the procedure for abuse described in the magazine "cannot work" anyway.

But Christie Hefner, Playboy Enterprises chairman has now apologised to Romanian women for the article and reprimanded the Romanian chief editor.

"This article flies in the face of Playboy's 46-year history of strongly opposing any visual or editorial depiction of violence toward women," she said.

Funding and education

Playboy magazine described a step-by-step procedure for abuse

Local rights activist Oana Popa welcomed the statement.

"We got apologies from Playboy, plus promises that they will print stories to educate Romanian men against violence at home," she said.

"Playboy have promised to fund shelters for battered women, and for our projects to combat domestic violence," she added.

This came after dozens of angry protestors staged a march through central Bucharest carrying banners reading: "Domestic violence is not a joke; it is a problem," and "Mothers, why do you hide the beatings' traces?"

The demonstration, organised by the Romanian Civic Education Project and the Foundation for Equal Opportunities for Women, was the first against domestic violence in Romania.

Supported by 51 international organisations, protesters urged parliament to speed up legislation against domestic and sexual violence.

Domestic violence problem

Romania, one of the poorest country in Eastern Europe, is facing an unprecedented wave of domestic violence, generated by poverty and lack of education.

We apologise in the strongest terms to Romanian women for any anguish this ill-conceived 'satire' may have caused

Christine Hefner, Playboy

Interior Ministry statistics show that more than half of the 110 women murdered in Romania last year were killed by husbands, boyfriends or male relatives.

Playboy launched its Romanian edition in October, featuring local celebrities on the cover and promising a magazine geared to successful men in their thirties.

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