The #meToo movement in Greece has revealed several cases of sexual abuse towards women and female identifying individuals in the past year.

Recently, the case of a sailing coach accused of raping a child has opened in Athens, and is currently being trialed.

Even during preliminary hearings, this specific case set a milestone for victims coming forward with the issue taking European Union dimensions.

The Greek sailing coach denied the accusation that he had instigated several, non-consensual sexual encounters with the athlete who was then under his stewardship.

Choosing to identify himself in a newspaper interview last year, Triantafyllos Apostolou stunned Greeks by also admitting he had been “in love” with the girl, who was an 11-year-old when the abuse allegedly took place. “We were to be married and her mother had agreed,” he told the Proto Thema newspaper.

The prosecution has accused the coach of using “psychological violence against the minor” to stop her telling her parents what had happened. The Greek daily quoted him as telling a magistrate that he had begun to have sexual relations with “my athlete … from the beginning of 2012”.

The hearings began on yesterday 13 January and are set to reconvene on 26 January.

“Today’s trial is very symbolic,” said Olympic medalist Sofia Bekatorou, who first came forward shedding light on her own case of sexual abuse at the age of 21, causing an avalanche of other victims going public.

Bekatorou, who is also a witness for the trial of the senior member of the Hellenic Sailing Federation added that “I am here to support her [the alleged victim] in every way. She is a very brave young woman. It’s never an easy process.”

“It’s a painful procedure,” she told reporters. “We are still at the beginning but we are a family and we are here to fight, altogether and for all the others who follow and I hope will follow.”

The trial, which is expected to last several weeks, will, it is hoped, encourage others to speak up, said Bekatorou, 44.

Last year the government of prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who has praised Bekatorou for her candour, overhauled legislation that will not only extend the time limit for legal action against those accused of abusing minors but ensure tougher penalties for crimes involving sexual assault.

It has also established a 24-hour helpline for victims, expanded a network of shelters for those seeking refuge and created an online platform to allow incidents to be reported in real time.