Hong Kong hurdler Lui Lai-yiu became the first high-profile woman in the city to reveal her sexual assault experience, joining the #MeToo campaign that has since encouraged women around the world to share personal stories of sexual abuse.
In a Facebook post on Nov. 30 — which was also her 23rd birthday — Lui recounted her harrowing experience in the hands of a former coach, whom she identified as “Coach Y”. She met him through extracurricular activities.
The assault happened when Lui was 13, the South China Morning Post noted.
One Saturday, Coach Y offered her a massage at his home, which she accepted thinking it would relax her muscles.
But what started as a wholesome massage turned sketchy when the coach removed her jeans, took off her underwear and began touching her private parts.
“In my mind he was a coach I respected. I had never thought he would do despicable things to his students,” Lui recalled (via AsiaOne).
Lui found inspiration to share her experience after hearing the story of Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, who, among other women, accused former team doctor Lawrence Nassar of sexual abuse.
Before joining the #MeToo campaign, Lui reached out to Pui Ching Middle School, the school she attended when the abuse happened. Upon hearing the athlete’s intention to publicize her story, they suspended the coach in question.
Additionally, the coach was suspended by his current employer, Watson’s Athletic Club, a member of the conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings.
Lui believes there must be other incidents of sexual abuse in Hong Kong, which unfortunately remains mum about such topics.
“In Chinese culture, sex-related topics have always been seen as embarrassing, shameful or not to be publicly discussed,” she said.
Lui urged others to seek out help and expressed her relief from the experience.
“To speak the truth is a form of liberation, to turn myself from victim to survivor. This is my birthday present to myself,” she added.
“It was not my fault, nor my parents’, nor my school’s. It was the perpetrator’s fault,” Lui continued.
“I am not ashamed as a victim. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I want you to applaud my courage.”
Liu is a member of Hong Kong’s track and field youth team. She earned the title “Queen of Hurdles”, and brought home the city’s first gold medal in the Asian Indoor Games in September.
Read her full post below (in Chinese).
Photos via Facebook / Lui Lai-yiu