Tuesday , 3 August 2021


Dora Palli's article entitled 'The chain of silence broke for all forms of violence'

Dora Palli is Secretary General of the National Olympic Academy and Deputy Director of the International Olympic Truce Centre

Sophia made the start. She gave the baton to other women to break their silence and speak publicly. It gave courage, strength and courage to women to share their own experience. And those voices are getting stronger and stronger. The complaints have taken the form of an avalanche, and they don't just stay in the sports arena.

However, on the occasion of sexual harassment, a major debate has been opened on cases of violence. That's because violence isn't just physical violence in the form of sexual abuse.

Violence can also be psychological, in the form of verbal or even emotional violence. In fact, we're talking about an emotional rape here.

There is also school violence, which is found in the school environment and has the form of school bullying – bullying. Phenomenon with which I have dealt with educational programs and seminars to 40,000 students all over Greece.

Every form of violence is different, but they all have one thing in common. There's the victim on the one hand and the perpetrator on the other. The abuser is the one who usually exploits his position and power by abusing power.

This was also the case in the case of Sophia Becatorou. But what lies behind Sophia's courageous public denunciation and what has now caused this unprecedented wave of support and social outcry from greek society and the political world? It is the announcement of the Hellenic Sailing Federation, which "called" the victim himself for the fact that he spoke after so many years about this "unpleasant event".

This unacceptable announcement, which in itself hides a great deal. He's hiding a guilt. But it also hides an authoritarian mentality of "what I want to do, as a result of years of power.

Such cases of long administration, however, create the right conditions so that if such a person is found there – an abuser can easily exploit his position and try to impose himself.

Personally, I have been an elected member of the Hellenic Sailing Federation for a few years, as well as chairman of the Committee of Persons with Disabilities (Disabled Persons). In the second case I too have experienced verbal bullying with the ultimate aim of defaming and intimidating me.

However, it is very important that the bill of the Ministry of Culture and Sport that recently passed the House determines terms of office in the sports federations. Many opposed it, many criticised this amendment. But one thing is certain – that by "removing the permanence" of the actors, their mentality will change. Permanence creates abuse – power, behavior, personality.

The state has a duty and an obligation to support victims of violence. At the same time, as a society, we must be faced with such attitudes and first of all we must be against all forms of violence.

So we thank Sophia for waking society from lethargy and sensitizing everyone to the issues of violence.'

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