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voice@dshs-koeln.de | @Voicessport

Swimmer Karen Leach talks about surviving childhood abuse

My name is Karen Leach, I’m from Ireland. Between the ages of 10 to 17 I spent most of my time training in a swimming pool, competing at national and international level. My dream was to swim for Ireland at the Olympic Games. I loved swimming, I loved my sport, and nothing else mattered to me at that age. My dream came at a very high price.

My Irish Olympic coach abused me mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually. He destroyed my childhood and for many years after that my life was hell on earth because of the deep pain and hurt within me. What happened in swimming in Ireland must never happen again – everyone must know the truth and protect children in sport.

I am 47 years old now, free from all that pain and hurt. I have healed my life. I found a way to have peace of mind. I am now a qualified Psychotherapist and Counsellor working with people to help them be free from their pain and sadness.

I know what it is like to be in a very dark, sad, lonely, frightening place, too scared to tell anyone – JUST IN CASE. My Message to you is – Please Speak, use your voice, tell someone, start your path to freedom, get help. It will get better but you need others to help you. It is too hard on your own.

Today I am a Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse. You can be too.

Your Voice, Your Life, Your Truth

Karen Leach is a former swimmer with the Kings Hospital Swimming club in Dublin, Ireland and has spoken out about the effects of her abuse by Irish Olympic coach Derry O’Rourke. Karen is a very articulate and powerful advocate for the prevention of abuse in sport and the importance of child welfare policies and procedures. Karen has spoken at various conferences – the ‘Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sports’ European Conference in Berlin, The Irish Sports Council of Ireland, Swim Ireland, Football Association of Ireland and many more.

Karen was involved in the writing of the book DEEP DECEPTION; she shared some of her story and decided to go public when the book was released. Karen has spoken out and is now a qualified Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Family Systems Therapist and Choice Theory Facilitator. Karen can be contacted via: karenmleach@gmail.com

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