In this week’s edition of Where Parents Talk with Lianne Castelino on 105.9 The Region, two-time Olympian, sexual abuse victim and survivor, whistleblower mother of three, and partner at ITP Sport, Allison Forsyth discusses what parents need to know about safe reporting and keeping sport safe for everyone.
2-time Canadian Olympian
Partner, ITP Sport
Mother of 3
“I am a parent of three, three lovely little athletes as well. I know firsthand, from my experience with sexual abuse in the sport system, as an athlete, and also now as a parent, the pressure I feel, that parents feel to just, hand your child over to other adults that you are told, or you start to feel that they just know what is best for your child. So whether that’s an art club, or, or ski club, or a hockey rink, you know, we as parents were put into this position of surrendering some some sort of control to a system of sport and in in that we need to be very mindful that there is incredible, you know, the sport is an incredible place to raise children, I will always believe that, but we need to be smart, and we need to be educated, we need to be clear on what that organization is doing to protect our children.
I do believe that what happened to me would stand very true for most athletes. It’s what I call the mindset of an athlete. So what you have is somebody — an athlete — who will naturally look up to the coach, naturally will want to be favoured by that coach, which is important to remember. And also naturally you know, I want to do whatever it takes to make it. So that was what the situation was in my case where it was, what this person did — the perpetrator did. He would favour one girl one day that was paying more attention to him. And then the next day, he’d be off of her and run to another girl, and we wanted to be in his favor. So that’s the first thing is athletes have a mindset where they want to win, they want to sometimes feel like they want to win at all costs, they look at that person of authority, in most cases a coach, and they say to themselves, this person is going to be the person that gets me there.”