In light of Vera Pauw’s recent revelations of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse, Women Win would like to make a public statement of solidarity with Vera and all survivors of sexual abuse and institutionalised oppression.
Unfortunately, many sport organisations have permitted a toxic culture of misogyny and abuse of power, rendering them inhospitable to those in our communities who are most harmed by misogyny. The results include devastating physical, emotional, and psychological trauma too often accompanied by social and professional stigma. Research and our own global experience affirm that most survivors know the perpetrator, too often a professional acquaintance or intimate partner, so maintain contact with their abuser. Doing so does not imply consent in any way.
In response, we would like to affirm our commitment to challenging and transforming the culture in sport which allows impunity for perpetrators and silences the voices of survivors. We believe sport can be – and needs to be – a place of joy and positive transformation and we demand the establishment of policies of zero tolerance for sexual harassment and violence in all spaces in which we live, work, and play.
We make these statements of solidarity with Vera, who has been a valued and loved member of our Board of Directors and friend of Women Win for many years; a committed and inspiring voice of what is possible through sport. We applaud Vera’s courage and stand behind her in demanding action from the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB).