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The Greek Prosecutor’s Office today opened an ex officio investigation and called on Olympic champion Sofía Bekatoru to testify, after she made public the sexual abuse she suffered by a high-ranking official of the Greek Sailing Federation more than 20 years ago, which has sparked widespread outrage in the country.
Bekatoru’s account, the first public complaint of abuse by an elite athlete in Greece, has unleashed reactions of outrage and solidarity across the board and has encouraged more Greek women to denounce through the hashtag #MeTinSophia (# YoConSofía), including other athletes, such as Niki Bakoyianni, Olympic high jump runner-up.
At the moment, two members of the board of the Greek Sailing Federation have resigned, protesting the initial reaction of the organization, which appeared to blame Bekatoru for not reporting earlier, he demanded that he give names and described the alleged violation as an “unfortunate event.”
The athlete has responded that this attitude is part of the reason why she did not feel that she could make public what happened in 1998, when After qualifying at the age of 21 for the Sydney Olympic Games, the still vice president of the Federation, Aristidis Adamopulos, allegedly raped her in a hotel room.
After receiving criticism for his first reaction, the Federation called for the resignation of Adamopulos. But his only reaction so far has been to insist on his innocence and refrain from his duties “until the case is resolved.”
Bekatoru, winner of a gold at the 2004 Athens Games and a bronze in Beijing 2008, said today that she has made her case public now to help build “a better future for young people in Greek sport.” and that in no case is it an isolated event, but “part of a chronic problem of abuse of power.”
Therefore, the athlete has announced that she will be part of a joint complaint instead of being filed individually, which could facilitate the conviction of Adamopulos more recent cases of abuse should be proven.
Reactions to this case include the suspension of donations to the Federation by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the support of virtually the entire Hellenic political spectrum, including the Prime Minister, Conservative Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who called Bekatoru an “Olympian of responsibility” for ending the cycle of silence and stigma faced by victims.
Likewise, reports of abuse have reached other institutions, such as the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, whose rector has requested that the Prosecutor’s Office open an investigation after A former student, encouraged by Bekatoru’s complaint, recounted in a closed Facebook group how a teacher abused her during a meeting to discuss her grades.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.