The following text was written in German and translated using an online tool (https://www.deepl.com/translator). To read the German original switch to the German version of the website.
unfortunately there was a sexualized assault on a non-player on one of our guests at one of our last tournaments. Even if we cannot undo the incident, we want to do everything possible to deal with it as well as possible and prevent something similar from happening in the future. We have therefore sent an email to all teams who were our guests in Lüneburg in June 2018 (see below), and we are grateful if together we can make our beloved sport a safe place for everyone!
Take care, your Farmers.
Attention: Trigger warning! Description of sexualised violence/abusive behaviour +++
Dear teams, dear guests of the Ultimate Farmers Lüneburg, dear players: inside the Farmvillecup 2018 and the Outdoor Mixed DM 3rd and 4th League Northwest,
We do not like to write this mail, but it is necessary. We hope you can read them carefully and talk to your teammates about sexualized violence. As far as the past is concerned, in our view there is currently no acute need for action – but in cooperation with you and the Ultimate Community, we want to be able to prevent such incidents in the future and react appropriately to border crossings at an early stage. Ways can be: transparency, exchange, reflection and awareness – let’s make our sport a safe and beautiful place for everyone.
Incident and official procedure
On the last Mixed DM Sunday (June 17, 2018) there was a sexualized assault of a non-player on a player of the tournament at the VfL Lüneburg in the changing room of the showers. The person concerned was able to leave the situation and describes himself as physically unharmed. Their team then informed us and in consultation with the person concerned we called in the police, who also appeared directly on site with four people. A complaint was filed, but the person concerned was able to provide a precise description of the person involved, which could not be found on the premises on that day. We finally communicated the incident directly to all the teams present (via tournament chat and orally at the Orga tent) and asked them to take care of each other and shower only in the group.
Through conversations with many players about the incident and the description of the person who acted, it became clear that he was also seen by others on the premises. Also, some of you remembered seeing the person the weekend before – at the FarmvilleCup (9/10 June 2018) – not only on the field, but also in the showers – and she was both dressed and undressed.
Thanks to many helpful and compassionate people, in the following days we were able to collect some photos and many written memoirs, which we handed over anonymously to the Lüneburg police. This is currently (as of July 20, 2018), however, still in search of the perpetrator, an application has been filed with the public prosecutor’s office to release an effective search. If the person is found and identified, a charge of sexual assault, among other things, is to be expected.
Significance of the incident for the community
It was quite conspicuous for us in the stories about experiences from the shower rooms that many of us were very anxious to ignore, excuse or minimize the (permanently) encroaching behaviour of this person there. When an unknown man and obviously no Ultimate player is standing at the sink and two naked players are taking a shower… when an unknown man and obviously no Ultimate player is showering and masturbating for three quarters of an hour, while other players:shower inside right next door… when an unknown man and obviously no Ultimate player tries to get into the dressing room alone with a player, which is prevented by the active presence of an attentive player – and not only no one dares to say something about the person himself or to inform the organizer:inside, but also in the stories that have now taken place
sorry, since it is certainly not so important what you say, since it is only “a flash in the head” or “definitely pure imagination”… then we know: we don’t want to go on like this.
We understand these countless incidents as a blatant attack on the (felt) freedom existing in the Ultimate Frisbee, our openness, the informal togetherness, on the integrity of our person – and the trust that everyone already respects the rules and limits…
Of course, all this would be at least as fatal if this man were a person we know and/or who plays Ultimate herself – the fact that this was not the case in this case does not really matter for the severity of the assault, in our opinion. It can perhaps be identified differently and we can find a concrete way of dealing with such cases. However, we think that we must become much more sensitive not only to the outside, but also to the inside – within the teams, trainings, tournaments, parties – for crossing borders and promoting the spirit of mutual respectful cooperation.
Steps of reappraisal, possibilities for action:
We, the Ultimate Frisbee Lüneburg team, therefore see a great need for action based on our experience described above and find it important to approach the topic of sexualised violence openly and transparently. For the concrete refurbishment this means first of all:
1. to accompany the persons concerned and to cooperate with the police
We are in close contact with the local police and support them in their work. We offer support and assistance to affected persons as required. If you or any of your team were a victim of sexualised violence during the FarmvilleCup or the Mixed-DM, please contact us. We treat all information with the utmost care.
2. information of the association VfL Lüneburg and the associated institutions
We have informed the VfL Lüneburg, the innkeeper:inside and the German Frisbeesportverband (DFV) about the incident.
3. measures and precautions
We, the players of Ultimate Farmers Lüneburg, develop measures to make everyone present at our trainings and tournaments feel safe and comfortable. We develop a guide for our tournaments (Awareness contact person/group, “Safe-Space” for players: inside, information/emergency number in the team folders and at the Orgatisch, etc.). Through this we hope that we can offer our guests more security and quick support if required.
4. discussion on sexualised violence at association level (DFV):
We want a discussion on sexualised violence at association level, as we suspect that we are not the only team that knows such or similar experiences. We are committed to developing joint solutions and options for action. The Frisbee community should continue to act with zest for life, tolerance and openness – this also includes knowing, preserving and respecting boundaries. The protection of these borders must be defined and, as we claim, further consolidated at association level. A greater awareness of the issue of sexualised violence is also necessary. Such incidents, as described above, may be the sad extreme case. In communicating about it, however, we have also noticed that more everyday forms of sexualized violence – no less “bad” as a result – also take place. This ranges from offensive derogative comments to obvious and constant stretching while showering to sexualised border crossings, for example at parties.
We very much regret the incident at the Mixed-DM in Lüneburg. We believe it is important to defend and restore openness and mutual respect in the Ultimate.
Thank you for reading our mail. Thanks for sharing it. Thank you for coming to talk to your fellow players about how we can make Ultimate a safe place for all of us.
Your Ultimate Farmers Lüneburg
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator