Serbian actress Milena Radulovic took the stand at Belgrade Higher Court on Tuesday, testifying that her former drama teacher, Miroslav ‘Mika’ Aleksic, sexually assaulted her after she had been taking his classes for six years, while she was still a teenager.
“It’s a feeling of such betrayal because a man who I trusted so much, who was a supreme authority and who I felt in awe of, caused me such pain,” Radulovic told the court.
She explained that she start taking acting lessons when she was 11 and that she loved to attend the classes.
But she said that when she was 17 years old, Aleksic sexually assaulted her – the first of what she said were several attacks that followed in the months afterwards.
“I was losing my confidence, wondering why it is only happening to me, why is he punishing me?” she testified.
Aleksic is on trial for multiple cases of rape and illicit sexual acts against seven women, all members of his drama group.
At the start of his trial in February 2022, Aleksic denied the charges, calling the indictment a “ghastly mistake”. He finished presenting his defence in October 2022.
He was arrested after daily newspaper Blic published an interview with Radulovic, who said Aleksic had raped her when she was 17 years old and then subsequently subjected her to further sexual violence.
Radulovic said that before filing a complaint about Aleksic, she was afraid that tabloid journalists would find out about it and twist her story inaccurately, which is why she gave the interview to Blic.
“I wanted my story to be heard originally, from me so they would not have material to spin,” she said.
She said that she decided to report Aleksic several years after the assaults because she found out in the meantime that other women had also been subjected to sexual violence by the drama teacher and that she would “feel guilty if I kept quiet and he continued”.
Another actress, Iva Ilincic, has also spoke out publicly about similar experiences with Aleksic.
At the beginning of the trial, Aleksic tried to discredit Radulovic, Ilincic and his accusers with claims about their private lives and careers.
He called Ivana Jasnic Mastilovic, the Blic journalist who conducted interviews with both women, “one of the leaders of the media lynch mob”.
Aleksic was a film director who in the 1980s worked at the Radio Belgrade drama unit, and he later established his own private drama studio, Matter of the Heart (Stvar srca).
His acting school was popular and, according to some media, around 3,000 people attended his classes over four decades. Many of Serbia’s most famous actors, TV presenters and journalists attended the school.
Aleksic told the court he was “not a teacher” and did not run an “acting school” but a production company, at which he worked with talented children once a week. He said the prosecution wanted “to convict a personality in the absence of evidence for the alleged crimes”.
The women’s accusations have drawn support from their colleagues and other public figures and NGOs.
Source : BalkanInsight