Family Policy Sec’y General: We hope other women find the same courage as Bekatorou to speak up

All facilities of the General Secretariat for Demographic and Family Policy and Gender Equality dedicated to dealing with violence against women are always open and prepared to help women who are victimes of violence, Secretary General Maria Syregela said on Saturday.

She was speaking of the revelations of Olympic sailing athlete Sofia Bekatorou, who said she was sexually molested by an official of the Hellenic Sailing Federation as she was preparing for the Sydney Games in 2000. Her revelations led to an avalanche of reactions condemning sexual violence, from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to ministers, party leaders and representatives, and fellow athletes.

Bekatorou “shook us by speaking publicly with strength and courage of the sexual molestation she experienced as a star athlete in sailing, at the online meeting ‘Break your silence, Speak Up, Don’t Suffer’, an initiative of the Sports ministry, in the framework of the Council of Europe program for the protection of children in sports,” Syregela said.

“With her moving speech, Sofia’s contribution to society and to all women is more valuable even than the 10 medals with which she honored Greece,” she added.

The general secretary also expressed the hope that “other women find the same courage as Sofia Bekatorou to publicly reveal the horrendous history of sexual molestation and to speak up.”

The General Secretariat runs 42 consulting centers, 20 shelters for abused women and a 24-hour phone line (SOS), 15900.