Paula Scanlan Shares Powerful Testimony About Surviving Sexual Assault, Having To Share Locker Room With Lia Thomas ’18 Times Per Week’

Videos by OutKick

Paula Scanlan, a teammate of Lia Thomas‘ on the Penn women’s swim team, testified in front of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Thursday. She not only described how ludicrous and uncomfortable it was having to share a locker room with a biological male, but also explained she was forced to do so as a sexual assault survivor herself.

Scanlan was one of six witnesses to speak in Washington D.C. in the House-titled discussion ‘The Dangers and Due Process Violations of ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ for Children.’ She was the first witness to deliver their opening statement, and it was an incredibly powerful and brave message.

Thomas’ dominance in women’s swimming as a transgender athlete has been well-documented by OutKick. Scanlan, however, provided her first-hand experience of her and her Penn teammates being forced into accepting Thomas in every way, which included being exposed to Thomas’ male genitalia.

“My teammates and I were forced to undress in the presence of Lia, a 6-foot-4 biological male, fully intact with male genitalia, 18 times per week,” Scanlan explained.

“Some girls opted to change in bathroom stalls and others used the family bathroom to avoid this. When we tried to voice our concerns to the athletic department, we were told that Lia swimming and being in our locker room was a non-negotiable and were offered psychological services to become comfortable with the idea of undressing in front of a male.”

Riley Gaines, who competed against Thomas in the pool and recently gave her own testimony in front of the Senate, shared Scanlan’s testimony.

“I know of women with sexual trauma who are adversely impacted by having biological males in their locker room without consent,” Scanlan continued. “I know this because I am one of these women. I was sexually assaulted on June 3 of 2016. I was only sixteen years old. I was able to forgive my attacker, but violence against women still exists.”

As Gaines stated in her tweet and Scanlan alluded to, female athletes being forced to not only compete but in many cases be exposed to biological men in sports, is not a hypothetical situation, nor is it only affecting a minority group of female athletes.

“While there have been a lot of notions that this is such a minority group of people [being affected] this one transgender athlete, Lia Thomas, affected hundreds of girls,” Scanlan told the committee. “There were hundreds of girls at the NCAA championship in tears over the situation, being bumped out of their spots in competition, failing to qualify for a meet, or having to change in the locker room next to a 6-foot-4 biological male.”

Written by Mark Harris


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  1. Whenever I watch an NCAA event on TV and see the self-serving NCAA ads promoting and celebrating women and women’s sports I want to scream at the outrageous hypocrisy they demonstrate as an organization. These dedicated, talented women have worked most of their lives to reach elite levels in their sports. It’s a travesty to allow men to walk in and steal what they have worked so hard to have a chance to earn. You, NCAA leaders, are a disgusting embarrassment to women, and sports.

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