Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Athletics Canada Athlete Council would like to pay tribute to Megan Brown’s incredible courage and strength in publicly disclosing the abuse she suffered in yesterday’s Globe and Mail article. It is hard to comprehend the emotional burden and long lasting negative consequences for sexual abuse victims, and we dearly thank Megan for stepping forward and telling her story; a colossal effort in a battle to put an end to abuse in sport.
The Athletics Canada Athlete Council deeply condemns the lack of action taken by Athletics Canada and its leadership at the time that Megan’s family was seeking help and support. This inaction and dismissal perpetrated a culture of disempowerment of sex abuse victims. Furthermore, the continued appraisal of Mr. Scott-Thomas, and denial of any wrongdoing on the part of the organization only reinforced his position of power over the victim(s).
No athlete, particularly a child, should ever have to experience what Megan endured. Additionally, no one should ever feel scared, ashamed or silenced when reporting acts of sexual, mental or physical abuse to the organizations that are supposed to ensure athlete safety above all else.
The Athletics Canada Athlete Council was founded in 2012. From its inception, its primary goal has been to represent the athletes and ensure that their voices are heard by Athletics Canada. We, as athletes, must support each other and we would like to reinforce our role as athlete liaisons to our governing body. Our priority is ensuring and reinforcing Safe Sport for all of our members.
We would like to remind you, the athletes: we are here to help you navigate difficult matters, including those involving Athletics Canada’s members and staff; we can provide emotional support, guidance and empathy in what can sometimes feel like impersonal procedures; we are actively working with staff and board members who, in good faith, are committed to keeping the organization accountable for their care and well-being of athletes.
We thank Megan again for her immense courage in coming forward. We also recognize and appreciate the other athletes who shared their experiences, thereby helping to contribute to a safer sporting environment in Canada. The Athlete Council can play an important role in Safe Sport in our country, and we encourage athletes to reach out when in need.
In light of this matter, we would like to reinforce our continued support for a independent third party Safe Sport mechanism to ensure that athlete concerns are appropriately addressed. In addition to reaching out confidentially to the Athletics Canada Athlete Directors (Kate Van Buskirk, Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, and Jennifer Brown), we encourage athletes to reach out to the Office of the Commissioner with any concerns, complaints or disputes.
Yours in sport safety, The Athletics Canada Athlete Council.
• This media release was published via Twitter on 10 February 2020. Click here for the original.
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