For some years now, thanks to the #metoo movement, there has been more and more talk about how much abuse elite athletes have to suffer. László Cseh recently reported in an interview with us that his former coach, György Turi what traumas he caused him with physical abuse, yelling, and spiritual terror. Since then, several have been involved, among others Dara Eszter, Bernek Péter, Diána Hope also talked about everyday swimming pool abuse. The writer, Kiss Noémi he said the coach beat the swimmers and it also turned out that Nikolett of Spiš in vain did he turn to him after the sexual harassment he had suffered, Turi did not take him seriously.
Of course, violence is not only so common in the world of sports, but British gymnasts, among others, complain that physical, verbal and mental abuse is the norm. Since success and victory are paramount, it is easy to argue that such methods are needed for this.
It’s probably not just Turi who wonders why victims only tell their stories years or even decades later, not immediately. Many people argue that this is perhaps not the reason to believe the accounts – in addition to the perpetrators ’interest in thinking about it so they can excuse themselves.
György Turi: This is me, the spiritual terrorist
Since our conversation with László Cseh, one of the most successful Hungarian swimming coaches has been accused by his former competitors. They talk about beating, breaking, molesting. Our big interview reviewing four decades of career.
According to experts, it is completely natural and common for someone to be abused, either as a child or as an adult, it often takes years or decades to talk about it.
There can be many reasons for this, we find the individual and the society among them. It is also true in general that we cannot immediately and accurately recall everything we store in our memory. In the case of traumatic memories, the situation is even more difficult, and this is not necessarily because of what the common language calls repression. Whether they are physically or emotionally hurt is usually hard to deal with, so whoever happens to them (whether within the family or in another setting) is often ashamed of themselves. Victims blame themselves for not stepping out of the situation, often thinking that what they feel or think is not right.
This is what the community or society at large thinks about violence. If it is normal for a coach to scream, sometimes slapping athletes, it will be hard to see that it is violence. If the community closes and everyone listens, there’s not much chance anyone will come up with their story. Whoever speaks in this case breaks the spoken or unspoken rules and exposes himself to further hurt and humiliation. Abusers often even explicitly threaten their victims: if they talk about what happened, they could get in trouble. Because they are in a position of power, they can easily do so.
Victims can only admit to themselves after a certain period of time that they have been harmed, and especially when they receive spiritual support to do so. It can come from a relative, friend or psychologist, but an atmosphere of understanding and acceptance is definitely needed. It is no coincidence that even in László Cseh everything became aware only when he got to another swimming pool:
Because when I came from Turi and got here to Törökbálint, to this great swimming pool, to the community, I was struck by the traumas I had suffered and been stuck in me for many years because I was locked in myself.
Even though he had previously felt that something was wrong, he did not change because he saw no alternative.
First, everyone is talking about what happened to someone they trust, turning to the public is the first step. It’s worth doing when the victim has already dealt with the trauma a lot, discussed what happened with his or her psychologist, and isn’t expected to re-traumatize him or her if he or she speaks in the press or has negative reactions to it. So it is not true what Turi would like to believe that László Cseh is now “coming up” with this story because the psychologist has dug into the past and the specialist does not know what is causing it. The opening is usually preceded by a long struggle and a lot of self-knowledge, as well as half-preparation for the expected effect.
László Cseh: We lived in spiritual terror, that’s not an issue
Big interview with the most successful non-Olympic champion swimmer of all time, who tells about the difference between first and second place, Michael Phelps, crying in the water, fear and also who thinks only the good rider who succeeds physically and mentally to break.
The other swimmers were probably helped by the fact that a well-known and authentic person spoke. The first thing that talks about what happened first is always the hardest part: in addition to actively dealing with the trauma, you also need to be at a good distance from the abusive environment. Speakers are unfortunately swimming against the tide, because Hungary is not the safest place for victims of abuse and will always be an excuse for violence. Therefore, we have a great responsibility in how we handle the stories, how empathetic we are to those who have taken them boldly.