NEWS

Raped all over again in the media

«No one has given a thought to that child. Of course there is violence in schools, but teachers do nothing and do not take recourse to justice. They are afraid of ruining the school’s reputation,» said deputy appeals prosecutor Irene Pantazi, head of the Juvenile Protection Association. «Instead of reacting to this event and protecting the victim in all confidentiality, society brings the whole issue out into the public eye and rapes her a second time. Instead of examining the children who allegedly committed the crime, they allow others to romanticize them and claim that they were simply confirming their ‘manhood,’» she added. Clinical psychologist Anastasia Paraskevopoulou cited a lack of a value system among teenagers and an inert society. «The social system appears incapable of reacting to events such as these. Everyone finds it easy to judge others and to take part in kangaroo courts. They have victimized a young girl, offering her no help whatsoever. If the perpetrators had healthy personalities and a value system, they would never have taken part in this.» Family therapist Maria Lasithiotaki blamed stereotyped, sexist and racist views. «The process of bowing to authority is more pronounced in villages than in the cities, as are social distinctions and discrimination against immigrants,» Lasithiotaki said. Lasithiotaki compared the case to the disappearance of an 11-year-old immigrant child in Veria, northern Greece, early this year. «Small communities are far more influenced by stereotypes, prejudices, racism and sexism than larger ones,» she said. Two of the four accused in Amarynthos are sons of a police officer and a teacher at the school. The local community is deeply influenced by a feeling of incapacity and inferiority in the face of authority, and finds it easy to establish perpetrators and victims, apportioning blame according to the individuals’ position in society. No one can be as innocent as claimed, once they become part of the social fabric they help perpetuate, even passively, to the process of victimization. Hypocrisy and media Professor Giorgos Piperopoulos, of Macedonia University’s school of psychology and sociology, said hypocrisy has not only pervaded society but the media, particularly television. «The networks took a line that achieved two undesirable aims – it stirred up an unhealthy curiosity among the public and focused attention on salacious details, supposedly to emphasize their abhorrent nature,» he said. The front pages of national newspapers are perpetuating the tendency, exacerbated by some of the back pages advertising prostitutes, ergo attractive immigrant women. «The fact that the girl is from a broken home, and Bulgarian at that, is irrelevant, as is the profession of the parents of the accused,» Piperopoulos said.