Already this year we’ve heard allegations of abuse from two tennis stars against their coaches, but tennis coach Judy Murray has flipped the script and revealed that she was also sexually assaulted while at an awards function several years ago.
The Scottish coach and mother to Andy Murray and Jamie Murray revealed that a “very senior person” from a “major education establishment” which was hosting an awards dinner touched her inappropriately while inebriated; and the incident shook her so much that she almost left before her speech at the event.
“Towards the end of the meal, it was clear he had had quite a bit to drink and he put his hand firstly on my knee. I didn’t know what to do so I removed his hand and leaned forward to pour myself some water and as I did he slipped his hand down the back of my trousers,” she wrote in the Sunday Post.
“At that point, I got up and went straight to the bathroom. I wanted to throw up,” she continued. “It rocked me so badly. I sat in the loos for ages and decided to do the speech – the show must go on and all that – but I didn’t go back into the room until I knew it was time for me to go on stage.
“As soon as I had done my bit, I walked back to the table, picked up my bag and left. I spoke to nobody. The incident left me feeling sick to my stomach for a long time.”
Murray spoke out on the incident partly in response to a number of misogynistic and racist jokes that were made at an awards ceremony with the Scottish Football Writers’ Association, which caused a number of guests to walk out and sparked a conversation about internalised sexism with TV presenter Eilidh Barbour at the helm.
“I have never spoken of this before but maybe I should have,” Judy wrote in her column. “If something like that happened to me now I definitely would. Women have found their voices and are calling out all sorts of sexist behaviour. It has given confidence to others to do the same.”
Earlier this year Kylie McKenzie accused former U.S.T.A. coach Anibal Aranda of sexually assaulting her four years ago when she was 19, though Aranda has denied the allegations. Pam Shriver also revealed that she had an inappropriate relationship with her 50-year-old coach Don Candy when she was just 17, and it took her some years to realise that Don was abusing his position as her trainer.
Women experiencing sexual assault in the hyper-masculine sporting world remains a huge problem across the board. And it’s only with women like Judy Murray, Kylie McKenzie and Pam Shriver speaking out about their uncomfortable experiences that change will begin to take place.