Vera Pauw of the Netherlands, currently manager of the Irish women's team, claimed on Friday that she was raped and sexually assaulted by three men working in Dutch football when she was a player, and regretted that the federation did not deal with her accusations properly.
These revelations prompted an apology from the Dutch football federation (KNVB), which deemed it "unacceptable that she could not benefit from a safe working environment".
Pauw, now 59, is considered one of the pioneers of women's football in the Netherlands.
“For 35 years I have kept this a secret from the rest of the world, from my family, from my teammates and my players,” she wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
This has been the toughest thing in my life but, finally, I'm ready to move on and be proud of who I am
Vera 💚 pic.twitter.com/27v25nFViP
— Vera Pauw (@verapauw) July 1, 2022
“Even those closest to me don't know about this rape committed by a senior football official when I was a young player.
Later, I was the target of two more assaults by other men.
All three were working in Dutch football at the time,” she clarified.
"I can't keep silent anymore"
“Only those I trust knew before today the systematic sexual abuse, abuse of power, bullying, intimidation, isolation that I faced as a player and manager in Dutch football” , added the one who had received an honorary distinction from the KNVB in 2017.
“Over the past few years, I have tried to ensure that this case is considered in a fair and equitable manner by the Dutch football authorities but without success.
Some people preferred not to publicize this rape and sexual assault rather than give me the support I need to talk about this story, ”added the coach.
"I can no longer remain silent," said Vera Pauw, who announced that she had filed a complaint with the Dutch police.
The KNVB said it was “very shocked by the events that Vera described to us during a discussion last year” and that it then entrusted an investigation to an independent body.
This brought to light a number of errors in the way the assaults suffered by Vera Pauw were handled and the fact that the federation "did not react quickly enough to the first alerts given by Pauw on sexual behavior inappropriate in 2011″.