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Police investigating rape claims by MP candidate

Police on Monday said they will contact a female MP candidate for the Democratic Alignment after she publicly talked about her rape that took place 19 years ago.

Thea Nicolaou, 43, has given an interview in which she talked about her experience of sexual abuse, saying she was motivated to speak out by Greek Olympic gold medalist Sophia Bekatorou who recently went public about her rape by a high-ranking official of the sailing federation back in 1998.

“But the strength I got from the many testimonies I heard from women, even recently,” Nicolaou, who volunteers with the association for the prevention and handling of family violence (Spavo), told Cybc on Monday. She added she handled more than 20 such cases personally in the last three years.

Quoting Nietzsche, Nicolaou said it is time to realise that a “human is the cruellest animal”.

She said she decided to talk because she did not feel right encouraging others to speak up if she did not.

The MP candidate, who is also the mother of four boys, said she talked to her children before going public and added that it was the worst part of the process.

“As a victim you are on trial before the culprit,” Nikolaou said to explain why many women do not talk about their experiences. She cited victim-blaming that suggest those who have been harassed were being provocative either by what they wear or their behaviour.

Despite her being unsure whether she will take legal action, sources within the police confirmed they will personally contact her.

Police are also looking into a former sexual harassment complaint against a basketball coach from a then 20-year-old athlete.

The 2016 incident, which was then reported to the police re-emerged this week after the young woman and her father shared with the media a recorded conversation.

In the recording, the woman talks with a member of the Cyprus basketball federation who tells her that if she wants to enter the national team she must withdraw her complaint against the specific coach.

“The case was referred to the state legal service but there was not enough evidence to show the crime was committed,” police sources told the Cyprus Mail.

Meanwhile, police have formed a special investigating team to examine sexual abuse allegations by Cypriot sports shooter Andri Eleftheriou. Several witnesses were already called for questioning and investigations continue.

The athlete reported a former member of the Olympic committee last week alleging he sexually abused her at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and also in Beijing in 2008.

The same man had also been reported in 2011 and 2014 before being appointed headteacher at a school where there was yet another allegation.

 

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