The Olympics are a time when the world comes together to compete and celebrate. Even though the 2018 Winter Olympics are about athleticism there are some unspoken traditions about the Olympics, like hooking up in the Olympic Village. This year’s Olympics passed out the most condoms ever, 110,000 to be exact, but this is also the first Olympics with a Gender Equality Support Center.
Sexual assault does happen at the Olympics and until now there was no way for the 2,900 athletes, coaches or 16,000 volunteers to report misconduct. “I’ve been worrying about building a sexual violence counseling center at [the Olympics] because some people might not like it,” Jeon Won Hee a volunteer at the support center told NBC.
There are Gender Equality Support Center’s scattered throughout the Olympic Park. Each center is chalk full of counselors who are equipped to help with medical treatment, legal advice and anonymous therapy.
“This is very meaningful, but the more important thing is knowing that sexual violence can occur anywhere at any time,” Jeon said.
Counselors at the center also answer the harassment and abuse hotline the International Olympic Committee started, so athletes can swiftly report misconduct. Along with their hotline, they also have a website addressing what is sexual misconduct, how to spot misconduct and educational material regarding the subject.
It’s not a coincidence that the and the Olympics first Gender Equality Support Center coincides the Me Too movement. A few weeks ago former USA Gymnastics and Olympic doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to a maximum of 175 years in prison.
Nassar abused his position of power to sexually abused and manipulated minors. During his time as the team and Olympic doctor, he abused well over 100 girls including Olympians McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas. Some of the abuse even happening at the Olympics.
Aly Raisman spoke during the survivor testimonials and called out USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee for protecting Nassar despite reports of his abuse. She said the organizations were “rotting from the inside.”
Nassar wasn’t the only person sexually abusing people during the Olympics. During the Summer Olympics at Rio, a Namibian boxer and a Moroccan boxer were accused of sexually assaulting maids.
This is the 54th modern Olympic games, the 23rd Winter Olympics, and there is finally a way to report sexual misconduct and harassment.