Thursday, June 20 2024

PM on gender-based violence: ‘Break the silence’


Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged women to “break the silence” on gender-based violence and discussed what can be done to assist victims in a conversation with a survivor. 


“Today, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we are talking about abuse. About how a woman experiences it, and how she manages to escape. But also for the state’s tools to help the victim get out of the cycle of violence,” Mitsotakis said in a tweet accompanying a video of the conversation posted on his official account.

“Everyone knew, they had seen incidents, they had seen us rush to the hospital with bruises, with blood, with burns, they had seen me sleeping outside the house, sitting on the stairs and crying, so I wasn’t afraid of the stigma,” a woman with her back turned to the camera tells the prime minister in the video.

Asked by Mitsotakis if anyone who suspected or witnessed the abuse tried to help, she responded: “No one did that, and in fact there were situations where when the kids started school, there were parents from the neighborhood who asked that their kids not even be [in the same class] with my kids.”


Explaining when she decided to escape the violence, the woman said she first attended many meetings of groups supporting victims of domestic abuse to built her confidence.

“When I took legal action, that’s when everything changed,” she added.


Asked what the state can do to help, she said it is important to train those in key positions, such as police officers, teachers, doctors, how to talk to victims and encourage them to come forward.

“One [wrong] word can drive you away,” the woman said about the victims, adding that for witnesses, “silence is complicity.”