The public defender established the fact of sexual harassment of Anania Gachechiladze by Shalva Ramishvili. The Ombudsman relied on the evidence presented by Anania Gachechiladze, including the audio recording made in 2018, and found that the physical touch, as well as the assessments made about the body and appearance, were sexual harassment. According to the resolution, Shalva Ramishvili did not cooperate with the office of the ombudsman, and although the standard of the burden of proof was clarified, he did not present a position/arguments to deny the fact of sexual harassment.
“The case is important/precedential because the Public Defender for the first time identified sexism as one of the forms of the prohibition of hate speech, which is regulated by the Georgian Law on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination. According to the Public Defender, sexism is considered to be a form of encouraging discrimination based on sex or gender,” states the resolution, which was sent to the parties privately and was not published publicly.
Public Defender considered Shalva Ramishvili’s comments about Anania Gachechiladze’s appearance to be sexist and noted in the resolution – “Indicating to a person several times that they have male roots, regardless of female forms, has a sexist content, and the defendant should have foreseen that his evaluations would be undesirable for the addressee. Criticizing the applicant because her appearance does not match their perceptions of the respondent’s sexuality constitutes gender-shaming and is clearly sexist.”
As Anania Gachechiladze told Aprili Media, the resolution is fundamentally important to her and will help her to take the next steps.
“Shalva Ramishvili has already been publicly exposed. There is also a court decision regarding Tatia Samkharadze’s case, other women have also repeatedly written about the facts of sexual harassment. However, given the magnitude of the crime he is committing, he does not receive an equal punishment. I feel very bad every time I have to listen to the recording or when reading the conclusion, but what can I do? You can’t get results with a superficial fight. He is a public person and I think he should answer for his crimes in some way. I will follow this fight and then, when I get the desired result, I will be the real winner,” Anania Gachechiladze notes.
Anania hopes that the Public Defender’s precedential decision will be a green light for proper management of similar cases.
“If after sexual harassment, many people will try to protect their dignity with the help of the public defender’s office, I think it will be very good. Our fight has meaning and it is important that the statistics change for the better.”
As Anania Gachechiladze says, when the incident of sexual harassment happened, she was well aware that she could go to court, but she tells us that the court standard was very low and that’s why she refrained. According to her, she had saved the recording and when Mako Jabua wrote about sexual harassment by Shalva Ramishvili on the social media, which was followed by the stories of other women, she decided to publicly announce her experience.
Shalva Ramishvili spoke to Radio Liberty after the publication of information about the decision of the Public Defender. He denied the fact of sexual harassment and called the decision biased.
“It’s all nonsense. I was instructed to take measures. To take measures to not do something I’ve already never done. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. [The Public Defender] reviewed the case one-sided and biased… [I didn’t cooperate because] I’m playing a meaningless role, like I have to prove, that I’m not an an elephant. All these people complained under the criminal law, they wanted me to go to prison, but you see how it ended,” Shalva Ramishvili told RFE/RL.
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association defended Anania Gachechiladze’s interests in the Office of the Public Defender. The Public Defender of Georgia advised Shalva Ramishvili not to engage in sexual harassment in the future in professional or other relationships and not to create an environment that is offensive, humiliating and/or inappropriate for their dignity. Also, he ordered to be informed about the measures taken to implement the recommendation within 20 days.
In March 2023, Shalva Ramishvili was exposed in sexual harassment by a number of women. Mako Jabua, Gvantsa Budaghashvili and Anano Iashvili wrote publicly that the facts of sexual harassment by Shalva Ramishvili took place during an interview in POSTV, this was followed by Anania Gachechiladze’s post, and Formula published fragments of the audio recording. The public statements of women about sexual harassment were first followed by the statement of POSTV, in which they talked about the attacks on the TV company. Georgian Dream MPs decided to defend Shalva Ramishvili and talked about the attempts to discredit “critical media and journalists”. They also said that the perpetrator should be punished by the law and not by the “moral police”.
We remind you that there are already two court decisions on the fact of sexual harassment of Tatia Samkharadze. Shalva Ramishvili was found guilty then. In 2016, Tatia Samkharadze reported on the fact of sexual harassment by Shalva Ramishvili in the workplace, which was followed by a discrediting campaign against the victim.