Irish women’s football manager Vera Pauw says she was raped by a ‘prominent football official’ as a player
Warning: This story may be triggering for those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone who has.
Irish women’s football manager Vera Pauw has said she was raped by a ‘prominent football official’ in 1986 and sexually assaulted by two other men while playing in the Netherlands.
Pauw made the claims in a report published Saturday in respected Dutch newspaper NRC and in a statement she posted on Twitter. The culprit was not identified in Pauw’s statement or in the NRC story.
« Not even my relatives know about the rape I suffered at the hands of a prominent football official when I was a young player, » Pauw wrote. « Later, two sexual assaults by two other men were added to this record. All three men were employed in Dutch football at the time of these incidents. »
The NRC wrote that the alleged rape happened at Pauw’s home in 1986.
It’s been the hardest thing of my life but, finally, I’m ready to move on and be proud of who I am.
Vera 💚 pic.twitter.com/27v25nFViP
In an interview with the NRC, the coach said he was « stunned by the allegation » and denied that a rape had taken place.
“Nothing inappropriate happened in this regard,” he told the newspaper.
Pauw also said that as a player and coach of the Dutch national team, she was exposed to « systematic sexual abuse, abuse of power, bullying, intimidation, isolation and frame-ups ». .
In a written reaction published on its website, the Dutch football association KNVB said it was « extremely shocked » by Pauw’s experiences, which it discussed with the association last year, discussions which led to a independent investigation.
The KNVB said the investigation « shows that the KNVB should have approached a number of issues differently. For example, Vera has unfortunately faced a number of (judgment) errors and harmful comments from from (former) KNVB employees.”
The association said the investigation revealed « there was no KNVB plan or policy behind this », but said it was « unacceptable that Vera did not experience the environment of secure job to which she was entitled at the time ». In personal contact with Vera, we have experienced that this situation unfortunately has a profound impact on her and we are sorry for that. »
The Football Association of Ireland has given support to Pauw.
« The FAI is absolutely aware of the impact these revelations will have on Vera’s well-being and has assured her of the full and continued support of the FAI Board and all of her Association colleagues, » did he declare.