Greece’s #MeToo movement leads to calls for reckoning on incest

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Greek Olympic crusing champion Sofia Bekatorou leaves the prosecutor’s workplace after she testified on her intercourse abuse case on January 20, 2021 in Athens. The 43-year-old mom of two stated she was 21 when she was subjected to “sexual harassment and abuse” by a senior federation member in his lodge room, shortly after trials for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP

ATHENS — Greece’s rising #MeToo movement, sparked by an Olympian’s taboo-breaking choice to go public with allegations of sexual abuse, has raised hopes it might additionally uncover long-hidden tales of incest within the patriarchal nation.

Stories of sexual trauma have in current weeks unfold from sports activities to the world of leisure, academia and past, and a few consultants say it’s only the beginning of a reckoning on a difficulty lengthy stored underneath wraps.

More than three years after the #MeToo movement surfaced within the United States, Sofia Bekatorou — a two-time Olympic medallist in crusing — broke the code of silence in her personal nation.

Bekatorou, now 43, testified in January that she was 21 when she was subjected to “sexual harassment and abuse” by a senior Greek crusing federation member in his lodge room, shortly after trials for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Her feedback have inspired different girls athletes, college students, journalists and actresses to break many years of silence.

A Greek crusing coach accused of raping an 11-year-old athlete 9 years in the past was arrested final month after his alleged sufferer reported him following Bekatorou’s public revelations.

During her personal testimony, Bekatorou had given proof on the rape of the younger woman, now aged 20, to prosecutors.

The younger athlete and her mother and father have additionally testified.

More than a dozen actresses have additionally reported sexual harassment courting again to the beginning of their careers, whereas a well known Greek composer can also be dealing with such accusations.

But most victims proceed to hold their trauma well-hidden, some consultants say.

“Ninety percent of sexual aggressions remain under wraps,” stated Vassiliki Artinopoulou, professor of criminology on the Panteion University of Athens.

“Only the tip of the iceberg becomes public.”

‘A sexist society’

Konstantinos Yannopoulos, president of Smile of the Child, a non-profit little one welfare organisation, stated the Greek #MeToo movement also needs to shine a light-weight on circumstances of incest.

“In the majority of cases, the father is the aggressor and, in the worst scenario, the mother is covering for him,” he stated.

“We are living in a sexist society. That justifies men’s actions.”

Yannopoulos is looking for the institution of a nationwide group to collect stories of incest circumstances and supply assist for the victims.

In an effort to break the taboo of talking about incest, the web site has launched a marketing campaign to elevate consciousness about sexual aggression between relations.

It has highlighted the case of Eleonora (not her actual identify), who stated her brother sexually abused her when she was 11.

Her case led to the #MilaKaiEsy (#Speakuptoo) marketing campaign, which goals to financially assist Eleonora in her authorized case.

She reported her brother to the authorities in 2018 regardless of her household’s opposition, 15 years after the alleged incident. He was finally sentenced to three years in jail in early 2020.

‘Between family and truth’

The marketing campaign additionally goals to “encourage other people with similar experiences to talk,” Loukas Stamellos, who writes for omniatv, instructed AFP.

Eleonora instructed omniatv in an interview revealed in December that she had to “choose between her family and the truth”.

Her mom instructed her “you are going to shame us” when she revealed her brother’s crime and her intention to report him.

“I could have shut up for the rest of my life, remained an accomplice to the comedy they were all playing with me as a protagonist in a silent role,” Eleonora instructed omniatv.

In the interview, she recounted her wrestle to overcome the nightmare of her teenage years, her melancholy and her suicide makes an attempt earlier than turning to the authorities.

“I finally realized that nothing worse could happen to me and I chose the legal route,” she stated.

Yannopoulos has additionally spoken of one other younger sufferer who stated she was abused by her father for the reason that age of seven.

She requested for assist from the kid welfare group when she was 14 as her mom refused to report her husband, he stated.

Sometimes, incest circumstances are solely revealed after home violence complaints, he added.

“A young woman has called us to reveal that she was beaten by her parents. While talking to her, we learned that her father was sexually abusing her and that she thought this was normal,” he stated.

But silence nonetheless reigns, Yannopoulos stated, with few circumstances of incest being reported in Greece.

In 2020, out of two,100 circumstances of home violence reported to the group “only 31 had to do with sexual aggressions”, a quantity he believes significantly understates the issue.

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