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#MeToo Movement in Greece Spreads from Sport to Entertainment

#MeToo spreads in Greece
#MeToo is spreading in Greece, as three actresses accuse a prominent director and actor of sexual abuse. Credit: pxfuel

The #MeToo movement, the global social movement against sexual abuse and sexual harassment, is now spreading like wildfire in Greece.

Following allegations of sexual abuse in the sport of sailing, Greek women are now speaking about harassment by male directors in theater, cinema and television.

The latest allegations were publicized on Friday by three Greek actresses through a joint Facebook post.

Jenny Botsi, Angeliki Lambri and Loukia Michala accuse the actor and director Kostas Spyropoulos of sexual harassment.

We are “driven by the courage of women who with dignity and boldness denounced sexual abuse or harassment,” the three actresses write on Facebook.

“We publicly announce that we have been victims of sexual acts by the actor and director Kostas Spyropoulos.”

“We consider it our obligation to our children and all young people to support the publication of such incidents so that they are reduced and even eliminated,” the three women add.

#MeToo spreads in Greece

Pandora’s Box

The Pandora’s Box on sexual harassment in Greece was opened by Olympic athlete and sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou earlier in January.

She revealed that when she was 21 she suffered a horrific assault by a member of the Hellenic Sailing Federation, someone whom she saw as a “father figure.”

Bekatorou, a 43-year-old mother of two who claimed an Olympic sailing gold in 2004 and a bronze in 2008, has encouraged other women to break decades of silence about sexual abuse in the sport by coming forward with her own experience.

More athletes came out speaking about harassment following Bekatorou’s brave revelation. None of those complaints can be prosecuted, however, since they occurred decades earlier and are outside of the statute of limitations.

Bekatorou had also given evidence on the rape of a young girl, now aged 20.

A 38-year old Greek sailing coach was arrested and charged with raping the athlete when she was only 11 years old.

In media interviews in which he did not give his name, the man said he had not raped the young girl, claiming the pair were “in a relationship” and adding that he wanted to marry her.

The victim said in her testimony, however, that the coach had indeed raped her — and threatened her not to divulge the crime.

President praises courage for speaking out

Earlier in January, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou praised the courage of  Bekatorou for speaking out against sexual abuse in sport.

“To all those who carry their trauma silently for years, not daring to denounce it, because they know inwardly that they will be treated at best with pity or suspicion and at worst with contempt, ridicule, and even social stigma,” Sakellaropoulou said in a statement.

“It is time to build a value system in which women will not be treated as potential prey, their weakness will not be seen as consent and their silence will not be criticized as quasi-complicity,” Sakellaropoulou stressed.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee and the government have urged other sexual abuse victims to speak out.

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