Köhler & Preuss Condemn Sexual Violence In Light Of Allegations Against Lurz

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World 1500 free silver medallist Sarah Köhler and Germany water polo player Tobias Preuss have condemned “any form of violence and abuse of power” and called for a full investigation a week after former national open water coach Stefan Lurz resigned following allegations of sexual assault.

The pair released the statement on the (DSV) German Swimming Association‘s website which came after German news outlet BILD claimed that sporting director Thomas Kurschilgen was released from his duties.

According to BILD, swimmers had informed him they had been sexually harassed and molested by Lurz.

Lurz was accused of “sexual assault, psychological manipulation and bullying” – allegations he refutes – as reported in news outlet Der Spiegel.

BILD reports that Kurschilgen, who had been in the post since 2018, did nothing to investigate the allegations.

Now Köhler and Preuss have issued a statement which reads:

“In the past few days, suspicions of possible cases of sexual violence and abuse of power against athletes became known.

“As representatives of all athletes in the German Swimming Association (DSV), we would like to take these new suspected cases as an opportunity to take a stand on the subject.

“Any form of violence and abuse of power has no place in any social class, in any position or anywhere else in our society or in our association.

“Especially when dealing with children and minors, such behavior is particularly reprehensible, immoral, unethical and condemned in the strongest possible terms.

“We therefore demand, on behalf of all those involved, a full and independent investigation of any suspicions on the part of the judiciary and the DSV.

“At the same time, as the voice of the active, we would like to encourage all those who have felt exposed today or in the past to violence, abuse of power or the crossing of boundaries to defend themselves against it.

“Each and every individual has the right to privacy and it is up to you to talk about it and to stand up for your rights and your protection.

“You can turn to friends, family or even directly and anonymously to specialized agencies who can give you exactly the help you need.

“There is a system around you that can protect you directly and also helps you to process and come to terms with the things you have experienced.

“Silence protects the wrong people!

“With your courage you also protect other athletes and help uncover incidents, because cases can only be solved if they and the facts are known. We therefore encourage and ask you to contact the DSV or a neutral counseling center if you have information or tips that can help clarify a case.

“The contact person at the DSV is Franka Weber ( weber@dsv.de ) in her role as prevention officer for sexualised violence. The federal government also has a free and anonymous help line, all information can be found here .

“Do not be afraid that this could put you at a disadvantage in your career or in whatever form – it is not.

“As athletes, we have to be role models and we mustn’t give sexual violence a chance in our association!”

Sarah Köhler& Tobias Preuss

 

 


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