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By Rosemary Ridd

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A red skirt happened to be my size, so I put it on because I had nothing better to wear, and went to Nicosia, where one of my husband's sisters had a clothes shop. I had only one pound in cash on me and I intended to buy a cheap dress in a dark colour. My sister-in-law embarrassed me with her comments on the colour of the skirt. She said that I ought to be ashamed to walk around without wearing dark colours because my husband was away. 'Do you want to attract the attention of other men? That's what people are saying.

P. ). Those Cypriot women who survived these dreadful experiences, particularly those who did not become pregnant, hid their 'painful secret' deep within themselves and tried to start a new life. It was difficult to trace these women who were scattered throughout the south of the island. Although the whole question received extensive press coverage, this gave no numbers, names or detailed descriptions. This press interest, in fact, brought into the open the hitherto taboo issue of Cypriot women and sexuality.

The Nicosia press reported in November 1974 that some of the husbands and fiances of rape victims had applied to the church for divorce or for dissolution of the engagement contract. These initial reports aroused much public discussion. Subsequent articles and letters provide ample evidence of men who did not want to take back their wives. ' Most people in such a maleoriented culture 'understood' the men's view and excused them. Nobody spoke for the women. Nobody considered their psychological needs for love and acceptance.

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