Secrecy Versus Confidentiality

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What happens when a girl confides in a coach that she has been abused, but asks her not to tell anyone? What about when a girl shares this information with a teammate? Is there any difference if an adult, female coach discloses that to another coach that she has been raped?

There is a fine line between protecting a survivor’s confidentiality and perpetuating a culture of secrecy surrounding gender-based violence.  When a girl discloses that she has been the target of GBV, the person she tells has a dual responsibility: on one hand, she must maintain the girls’ confidentiality, as not to further victimise her through exposure. On the other hand, that person has a responsibility to report the incident and help the girl get the medical, legal and psychosocial services that she needs.

For a coach or teammate, these two responsibilities can seem to be in conflict. Ultimately, we all have a moral and legal obligation to report child abuse to appropriate authorities. Period. It is important that a coach or teammate explains this to a survivor when/if they disclose that they have been violated.