Over 3 out of 10 women have been victims of domestic violence during the first lockdown in Greece, according to an online survey requested by the Citizen Protection Ministry and the Center for Security Research, and presented at an online discussion on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Wednesday.
The survey, conducted in Greece from July to October, followed an increase in reported abuse during the first lockdown in the country which began in March 2020 and lasted for 42 days.
It included 750 women, of whom 36 percent said they had been victims of violence not long ago.
"During the first lockdown alone, we had 3,000 calls and 500 emails," said Evi Lezgi, psychologist for the help line 15900, adding that she has to deal with such reported incidents on a daily basis.
"Children and teenagers were calling while violent incidents were taking place at home and their mothers couldn't place a call," she explained.
Based on data collected from the survey, authorities said the victims were usually women aged 38 to 39, married and with an average of two children. Four in 10 had a college degree, including a PhD, and lived in urban areas.
In terms of the perpetrators, 8 in 10 were men with a median age of 45, while four in 10 were college graduates, worked at full-time jobs and had no history of violence.
"In terms of social demographics, statistically the victims' profile does not deviate significantly from that of the general sample," Vassiliki Artinopoulou, professor of criminology at Panteion University, said during the event.
"Violence against women is not a seasonal infection," said sociologist Dimitris Stefanidis, member of the Alexandroupolis Counseling Center, speaking from northern Greece.
"We confirm the rise of this violence on a daily basis through several incidents we are called upon to handle in the Alexandroupolis area. Gender stereotypes are more resilient here and it's harder to deconstruct them."
Discussing the experiences of Niki, a woman describing her fear of seeking help and her initial belief that she was responsible for the abuse, legal advisor at the Athens Counseling Center Irini Soziou said, "Women are even quering whether they can leave the center and go file a suit or ask for protection. Their greatest anxiety is their safety the day after, and whether they will be able to continue to live normal lives – especially to keep custody of their children."