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Hong Kong athletes make joint plea for authorities to take sexual abuse in sports seriously

Women's 60m Hurdles LUI Lai Yiu (HKG) competes at the Indoor Athletics competition during 2017 Ashgabat 5th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games. Vera Lui Lai-yiu share the story of being sexually harassed by her trainer as a teen. (Photo: Ashgabat 2017)

HONG KONG, December 5, 2017 - As athletes, we feel sorry and sad about the recent sexual assault incident in Hong Kong sports. Coaches and relevant staff members are people we respect and can trust in helping us to develop our careers and who are always reliable. Any form of abuse to athletes will damage the mutual relationship between the two, hurting athletes in the long run, especially the younger generation.

We are putting up a joint statement here, hoping to raise awareness of the problem in the community. At the same time, we appeal for a halt to the verbal abuse of victims. We also call on the government and sporting authorities to take concrete measures to protect athletes from any sexual abuse in future.

We ask for:

1. Zero tolerance of sexual assault in sports and the investigation of suspected cases thoroughly once they have been reported.

2. Providing coaches and staff clear guidelines on their interactions with athletes, such as avoiding unnecessary physical contact and athletes being alone with coaches.

3. Encouraging athletes, especially juveniles, to actively seek help in the event of sexual assault.

4. Providing counselling help for victims of sexual abuse and supporting their emotions so that their training is not affected.

5. Holding regular sex education seminars to raise awareness of harassments.

We hereby call for the support of the community as sexual assaults hurt athletes and their families and the effects are long lasting. You can help us by joining our petition, posting this statement or supporting the victims so that more people are aware of the situation and contribute to stopping sexual abuse from happening again, especially among juveniles.

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