On Sunday, 4th October 2020, Michael Kyprianou & Co. LLC, along with the Cyprus-Russian Association Paphos, successfully organised a charity afternoon coffee in aid of SPAVO (the association for the prevention of domestic violence). The event took place outdoors at Elysia Breeze where all health and safety measures were followed.
The guests had the opportunity to listen and get to know Ms Rania Evripidou, volunteer of SPAVO and a survivor of sexual abuse. Ms Evripidou shared her story with the audience which was captivated by her sincerity and courage. Ms Evripidou decided to speak about her tragic story 35 years after it happened, as it took 10 years for her case to reach the court. She found justice and as she said “I did all this because I wanted that monster to say ‘sorry’ and apologize for what he has done to me. Saying ‘sorry’ immediately means that you accept your actions. I would like to send a positive message to everyone out there who is a victim of abuse of any kind. You are not alone anymore. SPAVO, has the mechanisms that offer support and protection with a team of professionals to everyone in need and especially women.”
In addition, Ms Diana Vasilievna, a psychologist, surprised everyone when she announced that she would not speak about the topic she had prepared but instead for the first time ever she admitted publicly that at the age of 16 she was raped at her village in Russia. When she told her family, they encouraged her to remain silent and urged her to marry right away to save the family from shame. She said that this event has been her wake up call. She called for everyone in the audience to speak up and not to remain silent because of fear.
The President of the Cyprus - Russian Association of Paphos, Mrs Olga Constantinou, highlighted the importance of the role of women nowadays. She mentioned how worried they are as women and as an association about the cases which have increased in number over these last few months of the violence against women. “Everything has as a starting point the women of this world, who are the mothers of our children, the wives, the daughters. Women are like flowers. If you take care of them, they shall blossom but if you neglect or abuse them, they will eventually die.”
“Domestic violence does not know race, religion or borders! Allow me to speak with numbers and inform you that 90% of the perpetrators are Cypriots, the 65% of the victims are Cypriot women while the 35% of victims are women coming from other countries” said Ms Valentina Ierotheou, representative of the SPAVO offices in Paphos.
The executive partner of Michael Kyprianou, Mr Savvas Savvides gave the shocking example of the case of a 9-year-old girl from Yemen who was forced in marriage with a man 20 years older than her and she was abused regularly and brutally. Not being able to tolerate this situation she decided to act and went to court asking for a divorce. She succeeded and became the hope of such victims worldwide. Mr Savvides pointed that if a 9 year-old-girl had the strength and power to make the difference then it is our responsibility to take action and protect the victims with severe rulings and sentences. “We ought to open our eyes and ears because these cases take place every single day. The most important thing though is to take the decision speak publicly about such matters so as to raise awareness. There are people out there who really need our help as lawyers and above all as humans.”
Last but not least, Mrs Iryna Popova, Associate at Michael Kyprianou & Co. LLC spoke to the guests, about the importance of a prenuptial agreement and explained the status that exists in Cyprus, Ukraine and Russia. She advised the audience to proceed in such an important agreement before getting married, if and where possible.
Upon the ending of all speeches, the guests addressed questions to the speakers, initiating a beautiful and informative conversation.
It is worth mentioning that the event will also take place on Thursday 15th October 2020 at 6 p.m. at WeSpace, 43 Agiou Andreou Street in Limassol. For more information and reservations please call 99615969.