I believe Kathryn Mayorga when she says Cristiano Ronaldo raped her in 2009.
I believe Ronaldo should be held to account – as should any football player who faces rape allegations.
I believe in solidarity, not silence. It's time for football to face up to the ugly reality of rape.
Why is this important?
One of the world’s most famous football stars has been accused of rape but there has been almost universal silence about it.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most decorated footballers of all time, set to earn over half a million pounds a week at Manchester United.
Kathryn Mayorga says she was raped by Ronaldo in 2009. She immediately reported the incident to the police and underwent a rape kit examination.
In 2010, Ronaldo paid her $375,000 to not pursue criminal proceedings, and to not speak about it again. For ten years, Kathryn stayed quiet. But in 2018, at the height of #MeToo, Kathryn bravely went public and a civil case has been reopened and remains unresolved.
It’s reported that Ronaldo signed documents where he admitted to his experiences that night, which include “she said no and stop several times."
Yet this detail has been ignored amidst the fawning celebration of Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United. We can’t let a woman’s story of rape be silenced. This must matter, even to football superstars – we have to stand with Kathryn Mayorga.
This is not just about solidarity with Kathryn, it’s about every single survivor of sexual violence. It’s about breaking the silence around abuse, and speaking truth to power.
It’s for everyone who knows what it feels like to live with lifelong injury, injustice and be told to stay quiet.
This is about football clubs and players waking up to the reality that they can’t act with impunity – or pay their way out of accountability.
Together we can send a message to Ronaldo, football clubs and fans worldwide that rape can’t be kicked off the pitch – and survivors won’t be ignored. Are you in?