Greece
Calamos Supports GreeceCalamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreek NewsCrimeRevenge Porn Makes Ugly Appearance in Greece

Revenge Porn Makes Ugly Appearance in Greece

revenge porn greece stathis panagiotopoulos
TV host Stathis Panagiotopoulos was accused of publishing revenge porn on Monday, bringing the issue to light in Greece. Credit: Screenshot/Youtube

The issue of revenge porn, or the distribution of sexual images or videos of someone without their consent, is now the most discussed topic in Greece after TV host Stathis Panagiotopoulos was accused of uploading dozens of videos and images of an ex-girlfriend without her consent on Monday.

The allegations came to light after an anonymous Tweet was published on Monday that stated that an ex-girlfriend of Panagiotopoulos, who was on the popular satire show “Radio Arvyla,” pressed charges against him for revenge porn.

TV Host Stathis Panagiotopoulos accused of posting revenge porn

According to her police report, the victim was alerted by a friend that a sexually explicit video featuring the woman had been uploaded to a pornographic website.

The victim found the video and looked through the account that had uploaded it. Horrified, she discovered that countless images and videos featuring both herself and other women had been uploaded by the user, who she believed to be Panagiotopoulos. One of the videos had nearly 100,000 views.

She then searched for his username on other sites, and found that he had been uploading the revenge porn onto another pornographic website as well.

The case against the television host will be tried in early 2022.

Panagiotopoulos was promptly fired from the television show, and Antonis Kanakis, a host of the show, released a statement saying:

“Stathis Panagiotopoulos is no longer part of Radio Arvyla. We express our regret for the woman involved and for what she experienced… (We are) very sorry that the man we have worked with all these years would do something like this.”

On Tuesday, Panagiotopoulos released an apology, admitting the crime:

“I committed a horrible act against a person who did not hurt me. I did this act under the influence of bad circumstances in my life, without any intention to hurt, offend, or wrong anyone. It was a very reckless act, the worst I have ever done, and I am facing the consequences. I honestly regretted it, and not a day goes by that I do not regret it. I apologized to the person in question…and now I’m apologizing publicly.”

Greeks across social media were horrified at the allegations, with many expressing their disgust and anger at the case.

One user wrote, “Revenge porn is sexual violence and abuse. ‘That’s all very well, but…’ does not apply here, just like with every form of violence. That’s why it must always be prosecuted.”

Victims face abuse, harassment, judgement — while perpetrators often face minimal sentences

The topic of revenge porn has been widely discussed in the US, but has only recently come to light in Greece.

Oftentimes, victims of revenge porn, who are mainly women, had been recorded in secret, without their knowledge or consent.

Other times, they knew they were being recorded or photographed, but still had no intention of the images ever being shared online.

In many cases, the images and videos are distributed by ex-boyfriends who want to “get back” at their former partners. They threaten their victims with the videos and pictures, blackmailing and abusing them. They often share the content with the victim’s friends, family, and colleagues, leading to public humiliation.

Women often desperately attempt to contact the websites hosting the images and videos to remove them, but they often refuse to do so unless legal action is taken against them.

There is no federal law against revenge porn in the US, but 48 individual states have now passed laws against the practice.

While many European countries do not have specific laws against it, revenge porn often falls under broader European privacy laws and can therefore be prosecuted.

In Greece, the practice is often treated as a misdemeanor. However, the Greek Ministry of Justice has vowed that harsher punishments will be handed down for those who commit such acts.

The Ministry announced on Wednesday that it is considering elevating the crime to a felony.

Victims often commit suicide

Many of such laws against sharing intimate videos and images were drafted and passed in response to tragic cases in which people who were victims of revenge porn went on to kill themselves or attempt suicide.

According to research by the organization “End Revenge Porn,” 51% of revenge porn victims have contemplated suicide.

At the age of just 18, Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, was secretly recorded kissing another man by his roommate Dharun Ravi, who later shared the video online. When he discovered what happened, Clementi jumped to his death from a high-rise building.

In the UK, 21-year old Damilya Jossipalenya killed herself after her ex-boyfriend spread a video of them engaging in sexual activity amongst their friends, and later threatened to send it to her family in Kazakhstan, a very conservative country.

Such tragic cases have also occurred in Greece. In 2016, 21-year-old student Lina Koemitzi jumped from the ninth-floor of student housing at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

A few years earlier, a friend had taken intimate photos of the young woman. He promised that he would never share them, and that he had deleted them. Yet they soon spread throughout her hometown of Giannitsa. She was then ostracized from her community and, incredibly, even threatened.

Too ashamed to report the abuse to the police, the young woman only told her family and close friends about the images.

Believing she had escaped the humiliation, Koemitzi began studying in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. Tragically, however, her hopes were dashed when one day she received a message threatening to distribute the pictures to her classmates at the university. She later took her own life.

After her death, three people were charged for their involvement in the distribution of revenge porn. The man who took the images was found guilty and sentenced to just 120 days of community service.

While she was alive, her whole community knew about her suffering, yet no one reached out to the young woman with kindness or even understanding.

Stathis Panagiotopoulos revenge porn case and women’s rights in Greece

The current discussion of revenge porn in Greece comes in the midst of a broader movement for women’s rights that has highlighted the increasing rates of domestic violence and femicides, or women being killed by intimate partners, in the country.

In 2021 alone, 17 women have been murdered by husbands or partners in Greece.

“We are a deeply sexist and patriarchal society,” says Anna Vougiouka, a social scientist and expert on gender issues at the Female Studies and Research Center Diotima.  “Patriarchy means control, it means I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” she explains. She adds that if a woman decides to leave a patriarchal man, violence usually escalates.

Femicide is traditionally connected to the devaluation of women, which is a symptom of patriarchy, says Anna Lazou, an assistant professor of Philosophical Anthropology at Athens University. “Women being murdered for their sex are being murdered predominantly by male boyfriends or husbands,” she says.

Statistics show that domestic violence has been on the rise in Greece in recent years. In 2018, a total of 3,815 adult women were victims of domestic violence. The number in 2019 rose to 4,171 women.

There were 13 femicides in 2018, eight in 2019 and ten in 2020. All of them were family or boyfriend-related.

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Greekreporter.com. Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!



Related Posts