‘I felt so ashamed’: Canadian swimmer Mary-Sophie Harvey says she was drugged after world championships

Warning: some may find details in this story disturbing.

A Canadian swimmer says she was left bruised and with no memory of what happened on the last night of the World Swimming Championships in Budapest last weekend and believes she was drugged.

Mary-Sophie Harvey finished eighth in the 200m individual medley and helped Team Canada win silver in the 4x200m freestyle relay. she said in a instagram post that after the competition, she and her teammates went out for drinks to celebrate.

However, the 22-year-old Montrealer said there was a “four to six hour window” that night where she couldn’t remember anything. After returning home, she found a dozen bruises on her body as doctors told her she had a sprained rib and minor concussion.

Harvey spoke with CTV National News Quebec bureau chief Genevieve Beauchemin about the incident, her attempts to rally support, and the response she received from fans who shared similar stories. Below is a full transcript of that conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity.

See the full story tonight at 10 pm EDT on CTV National News

Mary-Sophie Harvey: After the World Championships, I wanted to celebrate it with all the swimmers. So we all went to a restaurant, like all the teams, to celebrate the good game we had. But at the same time, he was still aware that he had another match to come and he still wanted to perform well. So, I still had that in mind. I was trying to be aware of the whole situation. I wanted to have fun and still be good.

Anyway, I was celebrating with my friends and stuff to a point where it wasn’t right. And I remember I had, like, four drinks total, all night. And then the next thing I remember was waking up with our team doctor and our team manager by my bedside. I was very disturbed when I woke up, because I was lucid. I didn’t know what happened. They all had worried looks and explained to me what happened. And at that moment I felt so much shame and shame, because… they were telling me a story in which I was the main character, but I didn’t feel like I was in it.

They were telling me things and trying to, like, pick up the pieces and tell me the story bit by bit. And I was like, I don’t know, it’s completely blank. And they told me who brought me back, so of course I called them afterward to (shed) some light on if they can help me figure out what happened. And it helped a bit. I can’t put together all night. I wish I could. But there were a lot of people, so it was easy to go somewhere or whatever.

I know one of my friends, she found me on the street and I don’t remember how I got there. She told me that I told her not to leave me alone, ‘stay with me’. Do not leave me alone please. And I kept telling her this and she was like, ‘I’m not going to leave you alone.’ And she brought two other guys to help me. And I don’t know when at the time, but at one point I wasn’t conscious and they had to take me to my room.

I don’t know how many hours later, but I woke up and was completely lucid.

Genevieve Beauchemin: You’re talking about something like a four to six hour window period, where you’re completely… lost in your mind.

Harvey: Yes, it is a strange feeling. I can’t say that I have ever experienced this. It’s so scary. I’ve been trying so hard to get memories of that night, but it’s completely blank. And the next morning, when I woke up, I didn’t think too much about the whole thing. I felt really embarrassed.

I took the plane, like, right after I woke up. I packed my bag, I took the plane, I did the whole day of traveling back home. It wasn’t until I got to my apartment and took off my clothes to take a shower after the day of traveling that I realized how many bruises I had all over my body. And it kind of made me realize that that wasn’t right and what happened wasn’t right. And that’s when I started to get a little bit scared in the ‘What if?’

Beauchemin: I’m sure you mean, what if you got mugged? What were the questions that went through your mind?

Harvey: Yes, exactly. For most of the time, I was told that I was with people, for which I am grateful, because who knows what would have happened if I had been alone? But I’m still afraid of some of the answers that I don’t have and that no one else has. Like, how did I hit the streets? It’s just these parts that are, like, really scary. And some of the bruises, the placement of them. It’s just…it was scary.

Beauchemin: When did you conclude that he had been drugged? And do you understand how it happened or when it could have happened?

Harvey: The thing about this is such a common thing, which is sad to say. It is such a common thing and it happens to a lot of people. After posting… I have received so many messages from girls, women and guys, sharing their stories and telling me they felt exactly the same way. It should not be like that. Like, it shouldn’t be normalized. And I was like having all this stuff still, I don’t hear it at all. And I tried to research it and have statistics on this and have resources on this. We don’t have any, or we don’t have enough.

Because after I got home… I went to practice the next morning and I really didn’t feel that great. And I kept training and then I called my friend, who knew about the situation and I knew that her mother was a doctor. So I called them and was a bit lost on what to do. That I have to do? I was still a bit confused and was assured that it wasn’t my fault, because I felt like it was. I was pushed to call this line that specialized in this in Montreal and I did. And that’s actually one of the other reasons I posted this. I was surprised by the lack of resources we have in this situation.

Basically I called the line and it wasn’t really helpful. I was a bit lost on what to do. I tried to tell my story, but it’s hard to tell stories like this because it’s just fragments and you’re trying to navigate through it, but it’s very confusing. I asked him at the end, like, what should I do? Because I am lost. She told me that there are only two places in Montreal that can deal with this type of situation. There is a hospital where you can go to the emergency (room), but she said that she would not recommend doing this.

And then there is a clinic for this. I asked him to give me like the number or something that I can communicate with (the clinic). And after the call, I called the clinic and it was closed and it was like nine o’clock. It was closed. I left my data and it took two days to respond. For someone who knows 100 percent that he was sexually assaulted, I can’t even imagine waiting two days. Not well. And it made me sad, but at the same time, I think, we have to do better. We need to be better because these situations happen very often.

Beauchemin: You talked about that weakness of not feeling like yourself. How do you feel now?

Harvey: I feel a little better. I think that Mary from last week would not have been able to speak to the media and post what I posted yesterday. I think I’m getting over it day by day. Surprisingly swimming kind of help. It was kind of therapeutic in a way, like shutting everything down and doing my thing. I think it takes time.

Many people approached me, right? And it just broke my heart because their stories, they were like, still embarrassed after eight years of their incident and stuff like that. And I kept telling them, ‘It’s not their fault, they didn’t ask for it and they shouldn’t be ashamed of it.’ And it took me a while to realize that I should listen to what I say to them, that I shouldn’t be ashamed of what happened and that I need to be okay with that.

Beauchemin: You are speaking with this courage and it is great to hear you share your story because, as you say, it happens too often. What is the message that you want to convey to young women, to young men? What’s that? What is the message you want people to know?

Harvey: I think it is to be careful. I feel like we should talk about it a bit more, even at school. It sounds crazy. But, like, just tell people it can happen to anyone. I thought I was safe because I was with a bunch of friends and I thought, ‘Oh, okay, it won’t happen to me because I’m surrounded by people I know.’ But it happened and it’s scary.

If my story can help just one person to be more careful or someone thinking of doing so… then I’m glad I shared it because people need to know it’s not okay.

Beauchemin: Do you remember anything fishy? Is there anything at all that comes to mind?

Harvey: That’s the thing. I know I had four drinks. The thing is, what probably happened is that I didn’t hold my drink the whole time. I was dancing too. So it was on a table. So that’s my take on this. That’s like what I can think of because I don’t know what else.

Beauchemin: I guess that’s the message to people. They think they will be able to detect it, but it happens.

Harvey: It happens and you don’t even realize it and it’s like six hours later. It’s not a good feeling and I wish it didn’t happen so often honestly

Beauchemin: The fact that people look up to athletes of your caliber and look up to you, and I think the fact that you’re talking, what do you expect now? What things can change?

Harvey: Yes, I really hope so. I hope that if my story can help in some way to prevent some events from happening in the future. I hope so, I hope we get more resources. I hope the victims don’t feel ashamed like a lot of people right now. Because we shouldn’t be ashamed of something we didn’t ask for.

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