Australia

‘Just a start’: Abuse survivor responds to historic apology

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA NewsWire Photos May 03, 2021: Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins speaks at the launch of the final report from the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Independent Review of Gymnastics in Australia. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Joel Carrett

The Australian Sports Commission’s historic apology to athletes who suffered abuse while at the Australian Institute of Sport isn’t nearly enough.

For abuse survivors and advocates for change, saying sorry is just the beginning, not the end.

“The AIS had to do this,” Alison Quigley told News Corp.

Read Next

“This is a very good start. It indicates humility. But it is just a start.”

Quigley is one of the most powerful voices advocating for gymnastics integrity.

A former gymnast herself, she’s currently working on her PhD, specialising in public health and regulatory approaches to gymnastics policies.

Quigley is also a survivor of abuse, raped by her own coach when she was 14.

He was later jailed, albeit decades after his crimes.

Quigley says blanket apologies don’t cut it.

“Apologies, to gain traction, need to be specific and also address what governance issues arose in each athlete‘s specific context and precisely how they are addressing those mistakes for future athletes,” she said.

“The other vital point is that the best apologies are those that show the most transparency. They document the stuff ups and then say that‘s not happening again.”

Catherine Ordway is an assistant professor in sports management at the University of Canberra.

The apology comes after a review found gymnasts had been molested and abused.
The apology comes after a review found gymnasts had been molested and abused.

She edited the publication Restoring Trust in Sport and also believes Sport Australia’s remorse needs to extend beyond a statement.

Related News  Melbourne enters drastic Stage 4 coronavirus lockdown as Victoria records 671 new cases

“Apologies are a really important part of the healing process for many people, so these expressions from Sport Australia and Gymnastics Australia are crucial first steps,” she said.

“Apologies then have to be followed up by actions otherwise they are merely words.

“My feeling is that there is a very genuine commitment to organisational and cultural change throughout the sport community.”

Ordway said the ASC’s apology could result in other survivors speaking out.

“I would anticipate that this publicity may lead to more people having the confidence to come forward across and range of sports,” she said.

“This a good thing, as the truth must come out in a culture of accountability and transparency.”

The apology from the ASC came just four days after the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) called on Australian sporting institutions to admit to their failings and apologise to victims in the wake of the scathing review into gymnastics abuse.

The review found that young Australian gymnasts, mostly girls, were molested, abused and bullied by the same people who were supposed to protect them, dating back over decades.

Gymnastics Australia offered an immediate apology when the review was released, but the ASC is the first government body to officially say sorry for the abuse.

Related News  Australian university fees to be slashed for in-demand courses and increased for popular degrees

“We know incidents and practices occurred that are not acceptable. For this, we are truly sorry,” the ASC said in a statement.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins speaks at the launch of the final report from the Australian Human Rights Commission's Independent Review of Gymnastics in Australia. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel Carrett
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins speaks at the launch of the final report from the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Independent Review of Gymnastics in Australia. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel Carrett

“We admire the courage of people who have come forward to share their stories. We assure you, we are listening and you have been heard. We have begun reaching out personally to athletes to offer our support.

“The AIS ran athlete scholarship programs for various sports from 1981 to 2012. Thousands of athletes have been part of the AIS story and we know most will remember their time fondly. Unfortunately, that is not everyone’s experience.

“We owe it to every athlete who has been part of the AIS, to feel supported and to get help if, and when, they need it.”

The findings from the AHRC review into gymnastics have shocked Australian sport.

The report included heartbreaking testimony from gymnasts who had experienced sexual abuse as well as verbal abuse, physical abuse and body shaming that had a devastating impact on victims.

The Commission was told: “We know people that have like attempted suicide, people that harm themselves, people that are bulimic, anorexic, because of this. People have been admitted to hospital, been involved with the police, developed psychosis.”

While the review focused entirely on gymnastics, both the AHRC and sporting officials have openly acknowledged that the issues were not related to just one sport.

Related News  Origin star’s cruel diagnosis ahead of Game I

Earlier this week, the AIS established a confidential and independent support service for former AIS athletes and staff, across all sports, to share their experiences and seek the appropriate support services.

“Today, we acknowledge our past so we can continue to lead Australian sport into the future,” the statement said.

“The ASC is committed to working with our partners in the Australian sporting community to address unacceptable practices of the past, and to ensure they have no place in Australian sport in the future.”

Sport Reporter

Australia

Read Next

For more updates check below links and stay updated with News AKMI.
Education News || Politics News || Journal News || Daily Local News || Lifetime Fitness || Sports News || Automotive News

Source

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

usa news wall today prime news newso time news post wall

Close