Reports of harassment in sports to be investigated

In a proactive bid to eradicate harassment at all levels of the sports arena in the country, the Women’s Committee of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOC Sri Lanka) officially launched its ‘Harassment is No Game’ campaign on 13th October 2020 via a Facebook Live Event on its official Facebook page. The Committee announced its comprehensive campaign is to prevent harassment at the launch event.

The campaign organizers are looking to address all forms of harassment including mental, physical, verbal and sexual abuse to bullying that takes place in the sports community in the country. Harassment could manifest in the form of actions calculated to trigger stress and trauma, demeaning language and behavior, bodily harm, inappropriate of sharp language, inappropriate touch, and comments and unsolicited sexual expressions.

“Our fundamental aim is to eradicate harassment in sports among the athletes across the nation and create a safe space in which athletes can perfect their craft. The first phase of this campaign will focus on educating all entities involved, including the public. Afterwards, we plan to set up a system that enables whistle-blowers to communicate with a designated unit. We are confident that this will trigger a feasible and effective process into establish the authenticity of complaints, understand the facts and work on resolving the issues promptly,” commented Women’s Committee Chairperson of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka, Niloo Jayatilake.

The Committee has set up a special team to investigate reports of harassment and pursue appropriate action immediately. Just over a year after having established the country’s first-ever Sexual Harassment and Abuse Prevention Policy for sports, this campaign will be the first step in eradicating harassment and protecting sportsmen and women. Harassment is No Game campaign wishes to reach out to every corner of the island and educate the public and involved parties to observe, learn and inform the special unit to end all forms of abuse and maltreatment of athletes.

“All forms of harassment undermine human dignity and trigger devastating effects on a person’s self-worth, mental and physical wellbeing. Sports should promote a life-enhancing culture where everyone involved enjoys the right to become happy and fulfilled individuals. Unfortunately, harassment in the sports world is more prevalent than most people imagine. Hence, we’ve decided to nurture a culture that understands, accepts and takes action to help each and every sportsman and woman,” commented Harassment is No Game Campaign Ambassador, Susanthika Jayasinghe OLY.

The international sports arena is already bringing in education and policies to address sexual harassment and abuse. Therefore, Sri Lanka too is taking the necessary and progressive steps in heading in the right direction in creating awareness. NOC Sri Lanka under the purview of its President Suresh Subramaniam has begun to advocate for change within the sports industry. To make it a success, all sports federations that come under the NOC Sri Lanka which is the apex body, will take an active role in creating awareness among the sporting fraternity through this campaign, to advocate for clean sports in the country.

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