The #MeToo campaign entered Greek society as a US imported phenomenon. It was rather left unnoticed by the majority and, if otherwise, it was mostly thought to represent the Hollywood and European events. On the other hand, it certainly gave a boost to women who were already aware on the matter and aware of the extent of sexual harassment and abuse in the country. For instance, texts on social media referred, if anything, to what is actually considered to be sexual harassment or they constituted an attempt to explain to women that being sexually harassed is not their fault.
The #MeToo campaign was the first step for the Greek society to put sexual harassment, inequality and the social stigma the victims experience on the media agenda.
At the same time, no big scandal, either in show business or in the political scene, came out. Of course, that was not the primary goal of the #MeToo campaign. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that even the personal experiences that became publicly known were covered by a dust of mystery as the names of the perpetrators were not mentioned.
Although a big change, march or movement has not yet taken place, it is of interest that more opinions are published on the topic by well-known Greek media outlets and journalists. Among the themes are: the reasons, such as power and prestige, which lead to sexual harassment and abuse, as well as the treatment and social stigma the survivors confront and carry with them after the attack. Generally, gender-based inequality, such as in the workplace, is discussed more openly. A reason for this could be the fact that feminism and #MeToo were globally considered as the most influential and most used terms in 2017 and therefore, could not be left out from the coverage.
A keyword search through the online archives of three most known Greek newspapers (Efsyn.gr, kathimerini.gr and vima.gr) during the period 1st October 2017 till 26th January 2018, led to following results on “#MeToo”:
|Reportage or opinion on Greece
Another search in the same newspapers on the phrases sexual harassment and sexual abuse for the time periods of 1st January 2017 till 30th September 2017 and 1st October 2017 till 26th January 2018, shows that after the appearance of #MeToo much more reportage was published on the topic:
|01.01.2017 – 30.09.2017
|01.10.2017 – 26.01.2018
More efforts need to be taken and more publicity should be given on the topic in order to reach people who so far have not been interested in the matter or tried to look the other way believing that it is none of their concern.
People, or rather my personal acquaintances, seem to not take into consideration the extended problems that inequality causes and think of feminism as something that from time to time tends to cross the limits, eventually in scaring men off. My opinion can only be formed based on my limited impressions from Athens and Thessaloniki, the two biggest cities of Greece, as I was only following the news from these two cities. It would be of interest to see if the #MeToo campaign managed to reach women and girls living in the countryside, the islands and other smaller cities of the country. I also did not come across any opinion on the topic written by a male writer, neither saw any circulating stories of immigrants or refugees.
Due to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women past November, The Greek General Secretariat for Gender Equality published in mid-November four videos on sexual harassment in an attempt to open public discussion on the problem and its limits. On November, 24th the parliament was lit in orange.
All in all, I believe that the #MeToo campaign was the first step for the Greek society to put sexual harassment, inequality and the social stigma the victims experience on the media agenda. However, at the same time, it did not manage to shake the ground. More efforts need to be taken and more publicity should be given on the topic in order to reach people who so far have not been interested in the matter or tried to look the other way believing that it is none of their concern.
* discussing the phenomenon on a social base
** four texts focusing on Greece, one interview with Mary Beard, one discussing the phenomenon from a social perspective and one personal opinion of a female writer