Athens.- A businessman in Mani took a hunting rifle on Monday and shot his wife in front of their teenager daughter. It was the 9th murder of a woman in 2020 and the fourth in lockdown conditions. Speaking to media, a relative said that the 44-year-old woman was often beaten by her husband and that she was afraid to leave him “because he would kill her.” Media reported of the man as being “mentally ill and on medical treatment” and that “jealousy” was his motive. Neighbors stated that they were surprised because the couple always seemed to have a good relationship. Many of the family dramas take place behind closed doors. not every woman who falls victim to domestic violence finds the courage to seek help.
4,870 did find the courage in the last year to complain that they have been victims of violence in their own home in Greece. During the first lockdown in spring, calls for help to the SOS 15900 Telephone Support Line increased by 230%.
According to Greek Police, 1,103 women reported violence to police from March to May 2020.
According to an online survey that took place in Greece from July to October, over 3 out of 10 women have been victims of violence.
The survey had been ordered by the Citizen Protection Ministry and the Center for Security Research, following an increase in reported abuse during the first lockdown in Greece this spring. It was completed by 750 women, of whom 36% said they had been victims of violence not long ago.
As Evi Lezgi, psychologist for the help line 15900 said, she has to deal with such reported incidents on a daily basis. “During the first lockdown alone,” which began in March and lasted for 42 days, “we had 3,000 calls and 500 emails,” she noted. “Children and teenagers were calling while violent incidents were taking place at home and their mothers couldn’t place a call,” she added.
Based on data collected from the survey, authorities said the victims were usually women aged 38- 39, married and with an average of two children. 4 in 10 had a college degree, including a PhD, and lived in urban areas. In terms of the perpetrators of violence, 8 in 10 were men with a median age of 45, 4 in 10 were college graduates, worked at full-time jobs and had no history of violence.
The survey results were presented at an online discussion on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Wednesday.
Violence and Lockdown
Although huge steps have been taken in the last decade to deal with the phenomenon on a psychological and legal level, the attitudes remain the same. Stories of despair and pain unfold daily behind closed doors and windows.
“It is a horizontal problem,” Maria Syryggela, Secretary General of Family Policy and Gender Equality, told state news agency amna on the occasion of The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Experts knew that incidents of violence increase when couples spend more time together. “Most incidents usually occur at night and on holidays,” said Natasa Makridima, a psychologist at the Agrinio Women’s Hospital.
During the quarantine, in fact, in all the regional units, hotels were turned into emergency accommodation facilities so that women and their children can first complete the medical examinations required to enter one of the 20 hostels, which operate under the auspices of the state.
According to the statute, abused women with their children can stay there for three to six months. If there is a need and more. “In the beginning it was the institution. It is now our home. And I hear it from the kids who live here. They say let’s go home, we are our home ” Makridima said.
Attica leads in cases of women’s abuse, compared to other regions. However, the incidents reported are not the only ones. Many women feel ashamed and do not dare to articulate what torments them.
“These women underestimate the fact. They degrade it. They say it was a slap, it does not happen often ” said clinical psychologist and doctor of the Medical School of EKPA, Anna Kandaraki. Women feel that they are responsible for what is happening.
“Their deepest conviction, even if it is not said, is that there is violence in all relationships,” Kandaraki who worked with abused women in Paris, added.
Both clinical experience and bibliography show that these women have been repeatedly abused and threatened to the point of fear for their lives. The phenomenon is global. At European level, most complaints are made in Sweden. Not because people there are more violent, but because women are better aware of their rights.
Violence against women is not only found in the family but also in the workplace, where it takes the form of sexual harassment, humiliation and restraint. Experts also record new forms of violence against women related to cyberspace. These are divided into cyberbullying, cyberbullying and non-consensual pornography.
PS we should also mention “sexism”, deep-rooted in the Greek society also among younger generations. You only need to take a look at Greek social media. And not only. Commenting on the Mani murder, a neighbor dismissed the motive of jealousy, shamelessly claiming “she was a fatty…”