fredag 3. desember 2021

Peng Shuai needs more than ‘quiet diplomacy’. If she can be silenced, no Chinese athletes are safe

When I first experienced abuse as an athlete, I made a vow to myself to never tell anyone. Ever. I was worried that I wouldn’t be believed, but also the thought that anyone would know me as a “victim” mortified me. On top of that, I knew that even if I told anyone, nothing would change. I was both right and wrong. Years later, after I stopped competing in figure skating, I broke my own silence on the physical abuse inflicted on me in China, and it freed me. I talked about it to my close friends, to reporters, and to my therapist – extensively. It never got easier to talk about but each time I did, I began to heal a little more.

The most powerful perpetrator of abuse is silence. It allows for abusers to continue to harm athletes, for athletes to continue believing that such treatment is OK, and for authority figures to continue to turn a blind eye without guilt. Every allegation of abuse that is aired needs to be investigated properly for there to be any hope of justice.