In April 2012, the Greek government published the mugshots and personal data of 31 HIV-positive women, who had been arrested after a sweep operation of the Greek police and were identified as “prostitutes”.
The state published the personal data of these women in order “to protect men and their families from the spread of the virus”. These women were forced to undergo HIV screenings without their consent, and were later charged with felony for “intent to cause grievous bodily harm” to their “clients”.
In 2013, director Zoe Mavroudi released a documentary about this case, which chronicles the events and tells a story much different from the one on mainstream media. Her film Ruins: Chronicle of an HIV Witch-hunt includes interviews with some of the arrested women and their families, and opens up a wider discussion about the festering social tissue of Greece.
“I chose to chronicle this case because I believe it encompasses everything that is wrong with our country in this time of deep crisis: our growing collective panic, the ineptitude of our institutions, the servility of our mass media to the presumed sanctity of authority, the self-righteousness of our politicians and our emerging police state.
More importantly, I believe that it reflects a fundamental deficit of empathy for those among us who have been hardest hit by austerity, the people roaming silently among the ruins of our society.” -Zoe Mavroudi
Please read the full story in Mavroudi’s director’s statement here, then watch the video from the Youtube link below. Subtitles available by pressing the “captions” button.