Beyond the breaking point: No Tolerance For Rape in Greece!

26/09/2017

In Greek city of Larissa, two senior men abducted a 14-year old girl. They held her against her will in an apartment for 15 days, sexually abused her and systematically forced her into prostitution. The two men (one of them was her Godfather) were arrested yet others who were involved into this crime are still not. The girl’s identity is being kept hidden and she’s currently under protection, yet what was the public reaction to this crime in Greece?

Feminists in Greece have reported that they were highly disappointed in the fact this crime was seen as specific case whereas this girl is not the only person who has been sexually abused in Greece. They explained that no protests were organized and the media coverage was poor and mainly focused on pitying the victim and ignoring the sexual violence issue in Greece. They stated that the rape culture in Greece is beyond the breaking point and therefore they have gathered to formed a movement called: “No Tolerance”. No Tolerance will the voice of women in Greece who have been a victim of sexual, physical, psychological, economical violence and sexist discrimination.

Here’s the statement from No Tolerence: “Five people are accused for what the 14-year old girl went through. These people, as usual, are presented by the media as “monsters”, “sickos” etc. However, when we look at their photos, we only see ordinary men and not “antisocial elements”. The rapes were not committed by “antisocial elements”, they were committed by relatives, neighbors, lawyers, grocers and family men of the town. A whole society stands silently by, complicit in this rape and in every rape. The media are also complicit, when they represent each case of rape, murder and abuse of women as a surprising and isolated event. Those who are, every single time, shocked, and then quickly forget, are complicit. Those who believe that women are solely responsible to protect themselves are also complicit. We refuse to forget. We know that what happened to the girl in Larissa could happen to anyone, an acquaintance, a friend or a classmate; and we know it has happened and will happen again to others. We demand justice. Justice means that the punishment should be proportionate to the crime, for all perpetrators. Justice means changing the institutional framework in order to better support the victims. Justice means that the media should openly discuss these crimes without feeding sensationalist articles to a spectacle-thirsty audience. Justice means that those who do not see and do not hear, who never speak out, should also be held accountable. Justice means not to be afraid – on the street, at work, at home, out with our friends. So that the rape of the 14-year old girl does not go unanswered. So that none of us feels alone against the patriarchy!”

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On 24th of September, No Tolerance have organized a protest in Athens, against rape culture where over 100 people have joined. They chanted: “Not tolerance in Larissa, no tolerance anywhere, the fight against rape is everywhere!” Feminist who participated in the protest said that the reaction from the public was highly positive and many bystanders stated that they were not aware of this crime and they thanked the protesters for raising awareness.

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No Tolerance also did not forget to show solidarity with the women of Poland who are currently under the risk of loosing all abortion rights as the Polish government is discussing to ban abortion without any exceptional cases.

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No Tolerance is determined to continue their fight against patriarchy and calling out to every woman in Greece to join them! If you would like to connect with No Tolerence you may write to them at kamia.anoxi@gmail.com

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From Stonewall to Taksim, we are all gay!

28/06/2015

On 26th of June, with the declaration of the Supreme Court, same sex marriage became legal on all the states of America. We’ve had a double celebration on a birthday of a gay friend of mine. I’ve marched for the Pride on Paris on 27th of June. This was the 3rd Pride after the legalization of same sex marriage in France. A friend of mine said: “Each year we are getting more crowded.” Of course we had to get more crowded, the combat was not over! For example, there are still more rights to gain for same sex couples’ reproductive rights in France.. As hundred thousands of people we’ve marched for hours. I believe there were more than 30 corteges. It was a day full of love! I think I was literally flying with my rainbow colored wings by the end of the night at the celebrations in Marais!

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On 28th of June, I’ve had dozens of friends to participate in Pride in Istanbul. I’ve received the news that the Pride was cancelled before the parade begun. The governorship of Istanbul, had cancelled Pride without any warning in advance, just because it was Ramadan! They did not just cancel it, but they attacked dozen thousands of civilians with plastic bullets, tear gas and water cannons! For intermittent 7 long hours!

I’ve just walked with love the day before, and that day, I’ve watched the people I love, my friends, my own sister, people that I don’t even know yet I’m in solidarity with in my heart, being attacked! They did not attack to Pride that day, they attacked love! That day, love did not march on the streets of Taksim, it was the violence of the police state!

The conservative, ruling party of Turkey, AKP had a brochure prepared before the parliamentary elections. Here’s the sentence from that brochure: “Turkey is a country where Pride can take place in the middle of Ramadan. Just non-conservative people are more visible in Turkey now, does not mean we violate the rights of less conservative people.” Last year Pride was during Ramadan, what has changed this year? This year, can the government violate the rights of non-conservative people? Ah yes, it’s after elections, that’s a good excuse!

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They say people’s freedom of love is against the sensitivity of the sacred Ramadan. How about the men who marry under aged girls, who abuse and rape women and girls? They’re not against the sensitivity of Ramadan? How about the animals that are being raped? Raping donkeys is a common thing in Turkey, that’s not against the sensitivity of Ramadan? People marched and protested supporting DAESH (ISIS) in Turkey without any police intervention, that’s not against the Islam sensitiveness? Really? DAESH who cuts heads, rapes and kills anyone who is not Sunni does not do any harm to the sacredness of Islam? They say DAESH does not represent real Islam, well thank you, but why can’t we benefit from the tolerance of the “real” Islam, do you have any explanation?

On 28th of June, 1969, just after midnight NYPD organized a riot at the Stonewall Inn bar. This bar was especially popular among the crowd whom were marginalized even within the homosexual community. Mostly transgender men, drag queens and male sex workers would enjoy a night out there. Up until the end of 1960’s homosexuality was diagnosed as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association and homosexual sex could be punished with life imprisonment. Within this environment, NYPD formed a squad just for raiding homosexual bars and this squad has arrested hundreds of people. Yet 13 people getting arrested on Stonewall that night was the last drop for the suppressed community! A journalist who was writing the attack on that night reports a woman shouting at the crowd standing outside and watching the attack: “Why won’t you do something?”

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The crowd police attacked on that night was an organized and rebellious crowd. After the attack, they’ve first organized among themselves and then they involved the heterosexual people, whom they’ve asked “why won’t you do something” within their protests. They’ve protested for consecutive 6 days in front of Stonewall Inn. Even thought there were many individual activists within the LGBTIQA community, Stonewall Riots is considered as a beginning movement for gaining LGBTIQA rights.

After these riots many LGBTIQA organizations, associations and press institutions were founded. On June 28 1970, in order to remember Stonewall Riots, the first Gay Pride was organized. Craig Rodwell, Fred Sargeant, Ellen Boridy and Linda Rhodes were the ones to propose this idea. And here’s how they explain their motivation:

“That the Annual Reminder, in order to be more relevant, reach a greater number of people, and encompass the ideas and ideals of the larger struggle in which we are engaged-that of our fundamental human rights-be moved both in time and location.

We propose that a demonstration be held annually on the last Saturday in June in New York City to commemorate the 1969 spontaneous demonstrations on Christopher Street [street where Stonewall Inn was located]and this demonstration be called Christopher Street Liberation Day.”

This parade exist so that we can remember the fight this community so that their love is considered legal, to celebrate the acquisitions up until today, to remember all those people who have suffered or died for these rights and to keep up the fight!

There are still 11 countries in the world where homosexuality is punished with death penalty and 77 countries where homosexuality can be punished up to life imprisonment.

Why won’t you do something?

Rainbow colored profile photos is a good start to raise awareness but it is not enough! Those “though thugs” who colored up their profile photos still use the word gay as an insult. They are still capable of making rape jokes and promoting violence through their language. Coloring our photos is not enough, first we should color our hearts, our dialogs, the streets and the laws..

Let today’s Taksim attack be 1969’s Stonewall! When you support LGBTIQA rights, do not defend yourself to say “I’m not gay but I’m supporting”. Being gay is not an abnormal thing, nor an insult. Instead say: “what if I am gay?” This is the way to begin the real support. We have to say it out loud every single day so that they get used to it!

We are all gay and we are everywhere!