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Greek President Marks International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women

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President of the Greek Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou posted a Facebook message on Wednesday marking the International Day for Eliminating Violence Against Women. The first-ever female in that position stated “Violence against women, physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence, violence that affects the integrity and dignity of those who suffer from it, is a global phenomenon, of unique historical endurance, with painful repercussions.

She continued, saying “although it is rarely reported and even less frequently punished, the facts are overwhelming: according to the UN, one in three women will experience violence from her partner at some point in her life, one in five will be raped or suffer attempted rape, and millions of women around the world are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

“The dominance of patriarchal structures, the predetermination of gender roles and gender discrimination reproduce the problem and nowadays exacerbate it. The coronavirus pandemic, financial problems, the forced coexistence in the limited space of one’s house due to the quarantine, and the changes in our daily life, create the explosive atmosphere that promotes the phenomena of domestic violence and multiplies the crimes against women that sometimes go as far as murder.

85% of Greek women sexually harassed at work

Just yesterday, the disturbing results of a new survey were revealed, which said that the vast majority of women in Greece had experienced sexual harassment at their place of work.

According to research conducted around the country by the group ActionAid Hellas, an astounding 85% of Greek women say they have faced sexual harassment there.

Greek women in the tourism and service industries, two of the country’s largest areas of employment, are at increased risk, with 22% of respondents stating that they have been victims of actual sexual assault or rape while at work, compared to 13% among the general population.

One in ten women who participated in the research claim to have been victims of attempted assaults, while one in five report that they had been sexually blackmailed.

The research was conducted by ActionAid Hellas in two different stages. The first, which took place in July of 2020, surveyed 1,001 Greek women in a wide variety of business sectors about their experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace.

The second, which was focused only on women working in the tourism or service industries, was conducted with 376 participants in July and September of 2020.

Only 6% of Greek women who say they faced sexual harassment in their workplace reported the incident to authorities.

In her statement today, President Sakellaropoulou declared “The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a symbolic movement of great importance, calls for vigilance and action.”

“Zero acceptance and tolerance of violence against women. Punishment of the guilty. Establishment of support structures and protection of victims. And, most importantly, changing the family and social models, through educational and counseling processes.

“It will take time to break down the stereotypes that stem from gender inequality and ideologically surround the phenomenon, often stigmatizing the victim rather than the culprit, shaping collective tolerance for morally and criminally heinous acts,” she continued.

“But until then, strictly enforcing the existing legal framework and creating a supportive environment for women who have been or are being abused is the only way.”

With information from AMNA

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