USA Swimming Sexual Abuse Survivor Jancy Thompson
As a child, it was my dream to one day be an Olympic swimmer like Summer Sanders or Janet Evans. But those dreams were shattered when my swim coach began sexually abusing me.
I was 11 when he first put his hands on me. He grabbed me by the hair above my forehead, pulled me close until we were nose to nose, I can still remember the smell of his cologne and the blue suede shoes he was wearing as I looked down in shame hearing him say “don’t you ever lie to me again, do you understand me?!” Fear, intimidation, control, shame, and silence ran through me at that very moment. I remember holding back my tears thinking to myself that I could not let him see me cry because if I wanted to become an Olympian I could never again speak up against him. He controlled almost every aspect of my life, he made me believe I was nothing without him and my voice was not worthy of being heard.
Losing the Olympic Dream
Slowly over the years my dream of one day becoming an Olympic swimmer vanished, I was left with simply trying to survive. By the time I was 15 he began sexually abusing me in private and humiliating me in public. He abused me in various ways for years. He turned my dreams into nightmares. He took what was supposed to be a natural loving experience between a man and woman and made me hate physical contact. I hated myself, my body, who I had become, and mostly I hated that he took my innocence.
The key to the whole thing is he knew what he was doing, he knew it was wrong, yet he effectively transferred the shame onto me and used that power to tighten his grip over me. He told me he loved me and in the same breath that “love” was slowly killing me. I was a distance swimmer, yet I was drowning.
The everlasting harm of sexual abuse
I may not have had physical wounds from the abuse he inflected upon me, however, I have deep emotional scars that will last me a lifetime. The man I called my coach splintered every aspect of my life, he almost destroyed who I was. I questioned whether living with these demons was worth it, I questioned if the breath I was breathing was worth it. I was ashamed, alone, and scared. No one would believe me. My parents would be ashamed of me and I was a failure with nowhere to turn.
Turning to the attorneys for sexually abused athletes for help
I was alone, and I was afraid to continue walking alone with the shame of my abuse in silence until I met Attorney Robert Allard with Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P in San Jose, CA. I once heard a quote that stuck with me forever, “Those who fly alone have the strongest wings, those who walk alone have the strongest direction.” If you feel like you’ve been walking alone with your abuse, I am here to tell you that you are NOT alone, but you are headed in the right direction.
Those of us who carry our demons in silence have fought battles alone. Those who have felt like they didn’t fit in, those who never had support, and for all of those who feel like no one believes in them, you don’t have to walk this alone. When you truly live the life you want to live, when you speak your truth, when you embrace who you are and where you’ve come from you will finally feel free from the shackles of your abuse. Take back your courage and strength, speak from your heart and let go of the shame because YOU are not alone.
Mr. Allard is my guardian angel. He listened to me when no one else would. He believed in me when everyone else shrugged their shoulders. He fought for me when I wanted to give up and Robert Allard will fight for you too! He will provide you the platform for your voice to be heard and YOU will hear your voice again.
Turning sexual abuse victims into strong survivors
It will all come good in the end and when it does you will not only have inspired yourself, but you have inspired so many others who share the same struggle as you. I had to learn to fight for myself and because of that I am strong. I am stronger now than ever before. I developed inner strength that will not be broken. Because of the pain I am here, stronger than ever, because of the struggle I have character I never knew I had. I had to go deep into the darkness to see things more clearly. I had to face huge internal challenges and so can you! I am proud of who I’ve become, and I am proud I kept going. I am not a failure and neither are you. I am proud that I stayed true to myself because I am now living as myself with respect from others around me I never had before and most of all, with the respect and pride I have in myself. I have and will continue to walk this path with YOU and so will Robert Allard. Together we will make a difference and together we will help your voice be heard.