Thinking of Eleni

Thinking of Eleni… The small island we live on was rocked recently by the violent death of a young woman. Her body was found on Fokia beach, the last small cove between Pefkos and Lindos.

21-year-old Eleni Topaloudi was an undergraduate at the University of the Aegean on Rhodes. Her body was returned home to Didimoticho, in Thrace, for the funeral earlier this week. 

Pictures of Eleni with revelations over the crime and subsequent arrests have dominated the local and national press. Arrests have been made. The press have been reporting all the grim details. I won’t be going into detail about the crime here you can find out lots more on Google.

I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by good men in my life. I’m an independent, strong woman, I believe that when we work together we build a stronger better society. But in recent years I’ve noticed an upsurge in mysogyny, I don’t know if it is something new or just that today, with more access to news, we are more aware of what is going on around the world. What happened to Eleni brought it closer to home.

Alongside that I’ve noticed we have more of a rape culture around the world. What do I mean by a rape culture: Everyday Feminism defines rape culture as a “situations in which sexual assault, rape, and incidents of violence are ignored, trivialised, normalised, or made into jokes. It refers to cultural practices that excuse or tolerate sexual violence by trivialising, or normalising it.”

It’s not happened here on this island but it is happening around the world. From light sentences as was seen last month in America where a man received just 30 months for rape and murder, to the case in Ireland where the decision over whether she consented came down to the type of underwear she was wearing on the day. With gang rapes in India and women afraid to travel alone in Taxis in South Africa.

Too often the victim is blamed in some way… but how can how our societies begin to turn this around. The courts and press need to stop blaming the victims of crime, but what can we do? The Greek media has gone down the route of blaming the victim in the past and I hope they don’t with this case we will have to wait and see. What can we do then, we need to think of Eleni and her family comment and hold the press to account for their actions.



Thinking of Eleni… What can we do?

As individuals in blogs and on social media we have a chance to start to make a change. And that’s what one Greek blogger did this week with a poem she’s written.

Originally written in Greek she’s given me permission to translate the poem and share it here. Sophia Papailiadou is the writer and creater at Loveletters. She’s a 39 yr old mother of two children. Originally from Pireaus and now living in Glyfada, Athens. It’s written from the heart. In her own words ‘I always try to see the good side even in the darkest moments.’


For any Eleni.. So there won’t be another Eleni..

For any Eleni
For that Eleni, among the many who said “no”.
For that Eleni, among the many who resisted.
For that Eleni, among the many who paid the price
How many why’s why won’t they be answered?
How many words will be scattered without meaning.
How many words will be said until the next “event – shock” over shadows the previous one.
I don’t want to talk to you about Eleni
Let her travel where the souls go..
I don’t want to talk to you about those two..
I want to talk to you about your kids.
About my children.
To be in time!
If we don’t teach our children to respect life, the next Eleni may be a victim of our own child.
If we don’t teach our children to ask for help, the next Eleni won’t be long before it shocks us.
If we don’t teach our children love, hugs, understanding, forgiveness, the next Eleni, may have the name of your own child. My own child.
Yes, the game’s still in the hands of the parents
The challenge has allies. Teachers, lecturers
The challenge is for you and me.
Violence they learn from us. From the images we let them see. From the situations we allow them to live.
So if you want, something other than memorial and tears for Eleni.. do something!
Do something that will change the flow of history.
Don’t close your eyes. Don’t brag about the dude you’re raising.
There’s nothing funny about violence and badass. There’s nothing useful about machismo.
Don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t leave it to luck. Life, it’s not luck.. It’s a choice.
Don’t close your eyes if you don’t want to relive a Eleni..

Today we have access to news around the world, yet many of us hide from it. I know that I do. It’s only when something happens close to us that we open our eyes and begin to take notice again.

Only by working together as a society can we make a change. Blaming men or women isn’t the answer either. What can we do? What do you think? Comment below and share.

You can find the original in Greek below, thank you to those who helped with the translation.

Για μια Ελένη.. για να μην υπάρξει η επόμενη Ελένη..

Για μια Ελένη..
Για εκείνη την Ελένη, ανάμεσα στις πολλές που είπε “όχι”.
Για εκείνη την Ελένη, ανάμεσα στις πολλές που αντιστάθηκε.
Για εκείνη την Ελένη, ανάμεσα στις πολλές που το πλήρωσε.

Πόσα γιατί δεν θα απαντηθούν;
Πόσες λέξεις θα σκορπιστούν χωρίς νόημα.
Πόσα λόγια θα ειπωθούν μέχρι να έρθει το επόμενο “γεγονός – σοκ” που θα ξεπεράσει το προηγούμενο.

Δεν θέλω να σου μιλήσω για την Ελένη.
Άστην να ταξιδέψει εκεί που πάνε οι ψυχές..
Δεν θέλω να σου μιλήσω ούτε για εκείνους τους δυο..
Θέλω να σου μιλήσω για τα παιδιά σου.
Για τα παιδιά μου.
Για να προλάβουμε!

Αν δεν μάθουμε τα παιδιά μας να σέβονται την ζωή, η επόμενη Ελένη, μπορεί να είναι θύμα του δικού μας παιδιού.
Αν δεν μάθουμε τα παιδιά μας να ζητάνε βοήθεια, η επόμενη Ελένη, δεν θα αργήσει να μας “σοκάρει”.
Αν δεν μάθουμε στα παιδιά μας την αγάπη, την αγκαλιά, την κατανόηση, την συγχώρεση, η επόμενη Ελένη, μπορεί να έχει το όνομα του δικού σου παιδιού. Του δικού μου παιδιού.

Ναι, το παιχνίδι παίζεται ακόμα στα χέρια των γονιών.
Το παιχνίδι έχει και συμμάχους. Τους δασκάλους, τους καθηγητές.
Το παιχνίδι το κρατάς εσύ κι εγώ.
Την βία την μαθαίνουν από εμάς. Από τις εικόνες που τους αφήνουμε να δουν. Από τις καταστάσεις που τους επιτρέπουμε να ζήσουν.

Αν θες λοιπόν, αντί για μνημόσυνο και δάκρυα για την Ελένη.. κάνε κάτι!
Κάνε κάτι που θα αλλάξει την ροή της ιστορίας.
Μην κλείνεις τα μάτια. Μην κοκορεύεσαι για το “μάγκα” που μεγαλώνεις που τσαμπουκαλεύεται.
Δεν έχει τίποτα “αστείο” η βία και ο τσαμπουκάς. Δεν έχει τίποτα χρήσιμο το αντριλίκι.
Μην αδιαφορείς. Μην το αφήνεις στην τύχη. Η ζωή, δεν είναι τύχη.. είναι επιλογή.

Μην κλείνεις τα μάτια αν δεν θες να ξαναζήσεις μια Ελένη..

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