Members of the newly created Network Against Violence Against Women (NAVAW) have been demonstrating outside the court in Cyprus where a 19-year-old British woman has been convicted of 'public mischief' after reporting being raped by 12 men and later withdrawing the allegations.
The teenager claims she was put under pressure to retract the allegations and grave concerns have been expressed about the handling of the case from a number of sources.
Cypriot women's rights activists believe the case is not only 'not uncommon' but reflects wider issues with endemic sexism and misogyny in the country.
Katie Russell, spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales, said:
“Rape Crisis England & Wales has been deeply concerned by reports of the treatment of this young woman.
So-called ‘false accusations’ of rape and sexual assault are rare and anyone who reports these serious crimes, anywhere in the world, deserves to be treated with respect, empathy and impartiality.
The criminal justice process is too often re-traumatising for those who have been subjected to sexual violence and abuse and routinely fails victims and survivors, both in the UK and around the world.
Rape Crisis hopes this young woman receives access to the specialist support she needs to recover from her experiences in Cyprus.
If anyone has been impacted by the media coverage of this case in recent weeks, they can find information, resources and details of specialist support services here at the Rape Crisis website.”