female football player

Role of the Interviewed: football player, amateur

Age: 26

Gender: female

Nationality: Turkish

Type of radicalization: gender based violence

Historical period collocation: 2014

Date/Country of the Interview: 28/11/2018, Turkiye

Interviewer: Hacettepe University

Hacettepe University

Have you witnessed or experienced personal situations of radicalization during your activity in sport organizations? What kind of radicalizations have you detected? (Gender, politics, religion, racism, crime, homophobia…)

player

I'm a 26-year-old woman. I played football in various amateur clubs for four years. During the four years I played football, I was aware of how difficult it was to be a woman in football which is a male-dominated sport. At that time, gender-based violence that happened to one of my teammates was very upsetting for all my teammates and me.

Telling your story. What has happened? How has the story started?

In 2014, my friend and I got transferred to the women's football team of an amateur sports club. In the beginning, everything was going very well. We were training five days a week to prepare for the league games that would start after a while. Although my friend is a very talented football player, she was seated at the bench mostly and almost never played. My friend was talented, and she deserved to play. The player who played in my friend's position was less talented than my friend, and her contribution to the team was less than that of my friend.
My friend went to our coach's office to talk about this. She was angry and upset when she came out of the coach's room. When I asked her what had happened, she started to cry and told me what had happened. She asked the coach why she didn't play. Coach went through various excuses. Then, the trainer had harassed my friend and said that if she wanted to play, she had to keep quiet. My friend had shouted at the coach and left the room. All players of the team were deeply upset to see that a woman who was so talented and passionate about football had moved away from her ideals. As a team, we all told the club managers that we didn't want that coach. Then, the coach was fired. But my friend did not play football again because of the trauma.

How did you realize what was going on? What kind of signals could you detect? How do you explain radicalization, referring to your experience?

When my friend went out of the coach's office, I realized that there was a problem. I thought it was discrimination that the coach put a talented athlete on the bench. I never thought this could result in harassment. There had probably been other athletes exposed to abuse. Perhaps some players may have remained silent, and some may have had to quit football.

Have you tried to cope with this situation? What was possible to do? What have you done? Have you involved other people/organizations? Who was involved?

I was really angry when my friend told me that the coach was harassing her. This behavior was unacceptable. She shared this incidence with our teammates and, we were all united and reacted to the coach. As I mentioned above, as a team, we all told the club managers that we didn't want that coach. Club managers indicated that this behavior could not be accepted. Then, the coach was fired.

Did you feel you had the skills to manage this kind of situations? Which was the most difficult part of it? Have you had any form of support?

As a woman, I have already experienced the difficulties of doing a male-dominated sport. This ugly incident deeply upset all of us. Instead of giving up the work we love, it was a better way to try to remove those who misbehaved. The coach was fired because of the prudence of managers.

End of the story. How did the story end up? What have you learned from this personal experience? What would you say to people who are living similar situations?

My friend quit her football career, which she loved and succeeded very much. But, she did not stay silent about this incident, and she attracted the attention all of us. We've all seen once again how hard it is to be a woman. We chose not to be silent. We moved together, and we did it. I suggest that women who are exposed to similar situations should not remain silent.

harassment and discrimination in sport