CN: this article contains discussion of rape and sexual violence
While COVID-19 continues to dominate our lives, in Serbia, a new story of evil has gripped the public. A few weeks ago, well-known actress Milena Radulović revealed to Blic that her drama teacher and renowned Serbian director, Miroslav Mika Aleksić, raped her several times when she was 17. She was a student of the private acting school, ‘Stvar srca’, run by Aleksić and his wife, Biljana Mašić.
Mika took care that it took place during class, either in the room next to the one where the other students were, or when the work was intensified due to admissions to the Faculty of Drama Arts. He did not leave room for anyone to suspect that something so terrible was happening there.Milena Radulović, Actress
Milena was not the only one of Aleksić’s victims. After she reported the incident to the police this month, actress Iva Ilinčić (another former acting student of Aleksić) also came forward. Ilinčić told the press that she had been sexually assaulted on more than one occasion by the drama teacher.
“I was not raped. Fortunately, I did not have such an experience, but I was continuously sexually harassed. I was silent for six years. I denied it, I didn’t tell anyone, literally no one,” confessed Iva.
Many other young women have now come forward to the authorities and the investigation remains ongoing. Aleksić has been arrested and is currently in detention.
Who is the accused rapist, Mika Aleksić?
Aleksić is a famous name in the Serbian acting world. Many now-famous actors and actresses in the country were once his students; the director has taught more than 3 000 aspiring actors and actresses in his career. From 1980, Aleksić has also been the artistic director of the Drama Studio of Television Belgrade, and until recently, he ran the private drama school Stvar srca with his wife, where Milena Radulović says he raped her.
Aside from the recently uncovered sexual assault, Aleksić has long been open about his strict teaching style. During a guest appearance on the TV show, Dok Anđeli Spavaju, in 1998, footage of Aleksić’s classes was played to viewers.
In the footage, Aleksić can be heard calling children “stupid”. He instructs children to wash themselves when they do not learn something correctly, and tells boys they are “fat”.
After Milena’s story was published, Serbian and other Balkan public figures have come out in support of the survivors. The solidarity movement, #NisiSama (‘you are not alone’), hopes to encourage rape and sexual assault survivors to come forward.
In spite of #NisiSama, the familiar phrase, ‘Why didn’t you say anything at the time?’ has been repeatedly asked about the women who have come forward. Serbia’s Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković, snapped back at these remarks, repeating what many of us already know to be true: “Condemning rape victims is the culmination of sexism and stereotypes in our society.”
Article Image Source: Wikimedia Commons