Greek Olympics sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou has spoken about having been sexually abused at a young age by a senior official of the Hellenic Sailing Federation. The 43-year-old Gold metal winner broke her silence at an online conference titled “Start to Talk” organized by the Ministry of Sports in the framework of the Council of Europe program for the Protection of Children in Sports
“I took a bath, I felt dirty, exhausted, humiliated and unable to defend my rights …” Bekatorou said about her abuse that took place in 1998.
“I had told him No, but he continued to seduce” her in a hotel room, she said among others.
She did not speak about the horrible experience neither to her roommate or fellow athletes, neither filed an official complained, not did she say anything to her parents.
She carried her secret deep inside her until recently.
“In my small and innocent mind the only solution was to be silent and pretend that nothing happened,” she confessed.
She kept on building her sailing career with great success in local and international competitions but “I had lost the most important asset as a personality: the love for myself,” she added.
What is interesting – and outrageous at the same time – is that Bekatorou first went public with her rape story in December, when she talked about it with the Greek edition of Marie Claire.
Short before the Christmas holidays, the shocking revelation went unnoticed by the media. However, even official institutions ignored it.
Today her Bekatorou’s story went viral, thus forcing the Hellenic Sailing Federation to react.
In a statement the Federation said that it has never been officially informed by Bekatorou on the issue and adding that “if there is ever an official complain, the Federation will do what is necessary according to her responsibilities.”
Meanwhile, a judicial investigation has been reportedly launched as also other athletes found the courage of Sofia Bekatorou and denounced sexual abuse by the same specific man.
PS Victims need a lot of courage to speak up public about sexual abuse in a society that still lacks education on such issues and has not overcome “misogyny” and “sexism” thus blaming the victim. On Greek social media, several people, both males and females, made cruel comments and implying or openly blaming the victim. Many asked “why she didn’t speak earlier.” That’s not the point. The point is why the man raped her and how he will be punished.