Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis has promised that laws and rules to combat sexual harassment and abuse will be drastically strengthened. For example, he wants stricter penalties for sexual abuse and a longer limitation period for sexual crimes involving minors.
A code of ethics will also be introduced at companies and bodies working with children, and a hotline for sexual misconduct will be opened.
In Greece, a national debate has broken out after a large number of allegations of sexual abuse have emerged. The #MeToo movement started over a month ago, when Olympic sailor Sofia Bekatorou revealed that she was abused by a senior sailor in 1998.
Then there was a stream of testimonies from women and men from the sports world, theatre, politics, education and government.
On Saturday, prominent actor and director Dimitris Lignadis was arrested on suspicion of rape of minors. Two men filed charges against him. In his statement to the investigating judge, Lignadis today stated that he is innocent and that the charges against him are lies.
He says he has an alibi for the days in 2010 and 2015 when the rapes were alleged to have occurred. The investigating judge has yet to determine whether Lignadis is being held. The actor and director was artistic director of the National Theatre since 2019, but he resigned at the beginning of this month after the first reports of sexual misconduct appeared.
In a fierce debate in Parliament, former Prime Minister and opposition leader Alexis Tsipras from the left-wing Syrian Party demanded the resignation of Culture Minister Lina Mendoni. She is criticized for appointing Lignadis as artistic director, while that post was open to everyone. The opposition parties also believe that Mendoni has ignored allegations at Lignadiss address for too long.
Friday, Mendoni called the theatre-maker at a press conference “dangerous” and said that he had deceived her. Mitsotakis felt that this was a false statement, but continues to support his minister because “she does an excellent job”.