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Ireland manager Pauw reveals she was raped as a young player in Holland

Vera Pauw also alleged she suffered two other sexual assaults during her career.

Ireland manager Vera Pauw.
Ireland manager Vera Pauw.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND Women’s National Team manager Vera Pauw has revealed that she was raped as young player in the Netherlands.

She also alleged that she suffered two other sexual assaults during her time in Dutch football. 

Pauw said she made several reports to the football authorities in her home country and has now reported the allegations to Dutch police. 

She expects stories of the ordeal to appear in the Dutch media and decided to go public.

She revealed she has allowed memories of the incidents to “control my life, to fill me with daily pain and anguish, to dominate my inner feelings.”

“This has been the toughest thing in my life but, finally, I’m ready to move on and be proud of who I am,” she added.

Her revelation drew an apology from the Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB), saying “it was unacceptable that she did not experience a safe working environment.”

Reacting to the allegations, the KNVB said it was “very shocked about the not-recent experiences Vera told us about in a discussion last year.”

It had launched an investigation by an independent research agency suggested by Pauw.

The probe found a number of errors in the way the KNVB dealt with Pauw’s experiences, including “not being sufficiently alert to Vera’s first signals of sexually transgressive behaviour in 2011.”

“We acknowledge the errors identified in the report and it should not have happened to her.”

“It is unacceptable that Vera did not experience the safe working environment to which she was entitled at the time,” the KNVB said.

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The FAI has offered its full support to Pauw in light of the revelations. 

“The Football Association of Ireland has given its full support to Republic of Ireland Women’s Senior Team Manager Vera Pauw at this difficult time in her life as she makes very brave revelations about her past,” a statement from the Association said.

“Vera has engaged on this matter with the Association’s senior leaders for some time now and the FAI has offered her all the backing she may need on a personal and professional level.

“The FAI is absolutely aware of the impact these revelations will have on Vera’s well-being and have assured her of the ongoing full support of the FAI Board and all her colleagues at the Association.

“The FAI will be making no further comment on this matter and asks the media to respect Vera’s privacy at this very difficult time.”

–Additional reporting by AFP

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