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Greek Athletes Speak Out after Bekatorou Rape Allegation

Greek Athletes Speak Out on Sexual Harassment
Sofia Bekatorou in the Athens Olympics. Credit: file photo

More Greek athletes spoke out on sexual harassment after Olympic athlete and sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou opened up recently.
The athlete said that when she was 21 she suffered a horrific assault by a much older person involved with her team, someone who she saw as a “father figure.”
The sailing Olympian told her harrowing story during an online conference aimed at protecting children and young people in sports, called “Break the Silence  – Speak out – Don’t Stand for it.”
However, after an uproar was generated in social media and Greek society in general, more athletes stepped forward to tell their stories of sexual harassment.

Bekatorou names perpetrator to prosecutor

Bekatorou named the vice-president of the Hellenic Sailing Federation (EIO) Aristidis Adamopoulos as the sexual assault perpetrator to the prosecutor on Saturday.
The athlete alleged that the current vice-president of EIO and head of the Sports Office, Superintendent of Central Greece, is the person behind her sexual abuse.
According to reports, Adamopoulos is a member of New Democracy in Eastern Attica, with sources on Piraeus Street pointing out that his party status is being suspended until it is clarified whether he is guilty or not.

Two more athletes speak out on sexual harassment

Former international water polo player Mania Bikov drew courage from the Bekatorou story and told her own in social media.
Bikov said that 28-30 years ago, when she was active, she suffered from a shoulder injury while practicing for the national team and was sent to the team doctor.
During the first three or four visits, during the examination the doctor always asked her to remove her swimsuit, even though her injury was on the right shoulder. 
She complained to the doctor about that and he replied sarcastically, “Why, are you shy?” She never went to the same doctor again.
She said that the doctor never touched her or shown such intention, he just liked to watch her naked. Yet, that was enough to traumatise her to this day.
A similar story was related in social media by swimmer Rabea Iatridou and goes back 27 years, when she was 19 years old.
The former athlete said that she had an injury and her sports doctor was too busy to see her immediately. So out of fear of complications she decided to see another doctor.
The only physician available was an orthopedist who had his practice near her house. The doctor immediately told her to strip down to her underwear.
He then proceeded to touch her all over her body, while wearing a sleazy grin on his face throughout the procedure. Iatridou said that she could not resist because she was frozen by the nerve of the man.
The deep trauma of the two women came back on the surface almost 30 years after the event.

Greek Prime Minister lauds Bekatorou

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis lauded Bekatorou for her bravery to speak out on sexual harassmentlight, a delicate issue which needs to be addressed.
In an extended post on Twitter, the Greek premier praises the athlete for her bold decision to raise sensitivity on such a taboo issue and bring to justice the perpetrators.
“Sofia bravely broke the chain of fear and silence, showing the way for the stigma of guilt to pass from the victim to the perpetrator. Thus, she became an Olympian of Responsibility, in the name of all: Women and men, children and adolescents,” he wrote.
“I spoke personally with our champion about that painful experience. The one she did not “remember” then, but never forgot. As no one should ever forget. But should react,” the prime minister’s post continues.
“It is time to root out authoritarian violence against anyone in a weak position. It is a scourge that undermines the foundations of our culture,” the prime minister wrote.
“So let us all takeSofia’s first step: We speak, we complain, we reveal. So that the light of truth may burn the crime that lives in darkness,” the Mitsotakis’ post concludes.

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