The Diotima Centre has appealed to the National Council for Radio and Television for the report “Virtual rape allegations by female tourists”, asking for its withdrawal as it reproduces the rape culture. Below is the full text:
With particular concern and skepticism, we watched the ERT report entitled “Virtual rape allegations by tourists” (22/08/2019), which is still (9/9/2019) posted on the station’s website.
The report begins by ‘informing’ the audience of a recent ‘incident’ that ‘happened in Crete’, with a German woman who reported being raped by a local. “The complaint was withdrawn when the tourist learned of the consequences if it was discovered, after an investigation, that she had lied,” the report says, however vaguely.
Starting from an isolated ‘incident’, which no competent police authority has so far confirmed, the ‘report’ arbitrarily claims that a ‘fake rape ring’ has been set up by tourists on the Greek islands, with the aim of obtaining compensation for ‘mental anguish’.
To substantiate the above, the ‘report’ is content with the testimony of the president of the Rhodes restaurant owners, who stated that “In all the years that complaints have been made in Rhodes, hardly anyone has been convicted”, but also with the presentation of the personal experience of a lawyer, who stated that “in a career of 28 years, there have been very few cases where there has actually been a rape”.
Completely absent from the report was the “other point of view”, the voice of both the dozens of women who have been raped and the lawyers who have defended them in the courtrooms, as well as the in-depth knowledge of professionals (psychologists, social workers, lawyers, etc.) from institutions involved in the management of gender violence cases.
This naturally raises a serious issue of lack of equality, objectivity, validity, and compliance with the basic rules of journalistic ethics.
More seriously, the report reproduces one of the basic myths of rape culture: that women lie about being raped. A myth that leaves perpetrators in the clear and incriminates victims. It thus contributes to questioning – once again – the words and experiences of the victims, to re-traumatizing them, but also to perpetuating the notion that it is difficult for a woman to find justice if she is raped.
Sexual violence and rape are not isolated incidents but major social issues, a traumatic daily reality for millions of women worldwide. The figures are shocking: According to the results of the largest survey ever conducted on violence against women (FRA 2014), one in 20 women in the EU has been a victim of rape, i.e. 9 million women in one year! Moreover, one in 10 women say they have experienced some form of sexual violence by an adult before the age of 15.
In Greece, according to data from the Hellenic Police, one rape (committed or attempted) is reported every two days. And all this without having the full picture, as only 13%-14% of women report the most serious incident of violence to the police (FRA 2014). In fact, as research has found, victims usually do not report for fear of not being believed (FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 1991, as cited in Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1994).
It is clear from the above that the responsibility of the media, in the struggle to eradicate this abusive social phenomenon, is great, given that they are a major source of information on social and political issues, playing a key role in shaping social norms and attitudes.
One-sided reports that do not respect journalistic ethics and reproduce the basic myths of rape culture, which present sexism as something harmless and ‘normal’, not only do not help to eradicate the phenomenon but also lead to its reproduction.
With these facts and in the context of the citizens’ right to objective, comprehensive and valid information, always aiming at the search for the truth, we ask for the withdrawal of the report from the channel’s website.