OVA Safe Sport – Person In Authority

OVA Safe Sport – Person In Authority


When the news came out for me
I couldn’t believe it. This is something that you hear and you read about and you see on TV, or you you see a documentary on. And this is happening in our city, to
our town, to our team and now to a player on this team. Unbelievable. You should have seen the faces of the girls. it was devastating to them. It was the saddest
thing I’ve ever attended. The emotion of looking at these innocent girls sitting there and seeing all of the trust that they had placed in this man and as a
team, and the parents It was like a funeral. Their faces were
stark white. No one could understand why this would have happened. It was awful. It
was terrible. I’m Greg Gilhooly, I grew up in Winnipeg,
Manitoba and I live just outside of Toronto now. Well it’s interesting, as easy as sports came to me, school was even easier. Life just came easy. So from
the outside I looked like I was a success, but on the inside things were
very different. Well Graham James was a larger-than-life figure in Winnipeg hockey circles. When I talked to Graham he was incredibly nice, he was incredibly supportive. This is the first time I’m talking to Graham. He said very good
things about me as a person and me as a hockey player. And he said that he’d been
watching me for a while and that when we get back to Winnipeg we should get
together. And he said but but don’t tell your coaches and don’t tell your parents.
He didn’t want, he said, my coaches to think that someone was interfering in my
hockey development or with their team. And he didn’t want my dad to know
because it would make its way back to my coaches. After one of our sessions, I was clearly
tired and Graham said to me, he said “look you know when you think about a hockey
player you have to have incredibly strong feet because the feet effectively
coordinate everything for the brain, the core, the leg muscles to the the blades. Can I take a look at your feet?” And he took a look at them, and he liked what he saw. And so the barrier was
broken and foot massages after our workouts, to massage the feet because
they were so integral to how the body moves, Graham started massaging my feet
after our workouts. How did my life change? It got really bad. I would try to explain to myself why I kept going back to him and I would
negotiate with myself and I would debate against myself and I would tell myself
time and time again that someone who thought so much of me, who wanted so much
for me, must clearly just not understand what’s going on and how he’s hurting me.
That I’m not really wanting to do what he’s wanting to do. I felt trapped mentally, emotionally I had no way out. I certainly needed to run to somebody at
that time, I certainly needed to tell somebody at that time. The problem is the way
that the grooming had worked. And I didn’t know it was grooming at the time
and I certainly wasn’t labeling as grooming. But all I knew I needed to tell
somebody but by that time the only person I could tell was Graham. My name’s Allison Forsythe.
I’m currently from Oakville, Ontario originally from Vancouver Island, BC. My sport is alpine skiing. Ski Racing, those of us that do it call it ski
racing usually. So I’ve obviously thought about this a lot, when I first met him he was not my coach. He was the coach of the Quebec Ski Team, at the time. He was as a person, how he showed up, was extremely charismatic and confident. He knew what
he was doing. He knew how to manipulate, talk the talk, make himself so powerful. I suddenly became the girl that he started to groom, pay more attention to, start to
tell me things about my body what he liked, what he you know what he think I
needed to look like to ski faster. So there’s promises you make if you stay
with an abuser that are made to you that makes you feel, I felt complicit in it
like I felt responsible. And then there’s the other side of what’s gonna happen to me if I don’t stay with this person. He threatened to commit suicide. He said
his family was gonna kill him. I know now it sounds weird to say like my dad’s gonna kill me but at the time I believed it. I tried to get away from him so many
times that it became easier in my brain to stay with him than to leave. My name is Stacey Ditchfield and I am the
parent of a player whose teammate was sexually abused by a coach. Moving into her going to the first tryout it was all positive. I had never heard anything
negative. There were many promises that were made to her by this coach. Just
beginning with, if you continue training, if you continue developing, if you stick
with me I will be able to give you exposure to the NCAA coaches. So the promises of what was going to happen in the years to come was always set at the
forefront. It’s a myth if people feel like athletes tell their parents everything, it is a myth. I was 14,15 when I left home. I felt like I grew up overnight. To be honest, for me the last people I would have told would have been my parents. Because I feel like I didn’t want to let them down. People that work for organizations, people in power, or people in authority, it’s quite simple, don’t take the job unless you’re willing to take this on as part of it. Don’t work for an organization that is in the sporting world that deals with children, that deals with athletes, who are representing
your country and not be willing to do everything it takes to protect them and
create a safe sport environment for them. Absolutely organizations have an
obligation to create and foster an awareness that these things can happen
and they have an affirmative obligation or should have an affirmative obligation
to implement rules to ensure, as best as possible, that it won’t happen. My case is interesting in that Graham never coached me directly. I never lived with Graham.
Graham was simply a mentor. He used his position within a sports organization to
foster his ability to groom me. If you’re an adult out there and you see something
odd happening again don’t be afraid to intervene, truly do not be afraid to
intervene. So the rule of two is very simple and a
lot of people may think that well that doesn’t prevent a coach from texting an
athlete. But I can tell you if you’re not ever alone with that athlete in a conducive environment for something to happen, nothing will happen. So you need to keep a professionalism between the athlete
and the and the coach, that’s number one. And it’s protecting the coach too. That’s
the thing is people think the rule of two is about the athlete, coaches need to
figure out the rule of two is to protect them as well. A lot of these coaches
aren’t paid they do it because they love it. And now they’ve been grouped into
this one bad incident. So for the rule the two it protects them and it allows
them to be themselves and allows them to develop those players in a safe
environment. And proactively moving forward everybody should be aware of it. All three of my children are going to go through sport and I was sexually abused
in the sports system. Because I have an awareness, I have a commitment to keeping them safe. I still have trust in coaches, I’m just smarter. I’m smarter in
that I ask critical questions. I don’t put my child into a sport that I don’t
know there’s trust. As Imentioned, as an athlete, as a coach, as an administrator, take this stuff seriously. I would have given back every medal I
ever won to have prevented this from happening to me. Have it all.
Like have everything. You know, so kids don’t want to win that bad. And we need to understand that they don’t want to win that bad to have these kinds of stuff happen to them. This is not about sport and about anyone. It’s not about you, whoever you are watching this video, whether you’re an athlete, a coach, an
administrator, it’s about a change in the system so that we don’t have to feel
like we can’t say anything. Like this is about humanity it’s not about sport.

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