Survivors’ Statement

Our response to the long-awaited conclusion of Gymnastic Canada’s Disciplinary procedure involving Dave and Liz Brubaker.

It is with immense relief that we eleven survivors of abuse by Dave and Elizabeth Brubaker welcome news of their decision to withdraw the appeal they initiated one year ago, following the March 2021 disciplinary judgement which found 54 counts of misconduct — violations that include emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual abuse — in their capacity as coaches over multiple years, up to and including the year of Dave’s arrest in 2017.

We also welcome the finalization of the firm disciplinary sanctions handed to both, notably the lifetime coaching ban levied on Dave, which “permanently [prohibits] any future application or attempt to gain reinstatement, membership or Registrant or any other status with Gymnastics Canada member association or clubs.”

While no punishment can or will reverse the damage done by the abuse we endured as athletes, we are confident the Panel’s decision will serve to protect others and prevent future harm from being done.

That said, the multi-year quasi-judicial process to which we were subjected through Gymnastics Canada was harmful and re-victimizing. It centred abusers over victims, compounded the trauma of survivors, and prolonged what had already been an open-ended nightmare.

That process cannot be allowed to continue as is.

We are moving forward, and the firm conclusion of this process marks the beginning of an opportunity to truly heal, individually and collectively.

We are reclaiming our power and our voices, and will use both to advocate for change and accountability. We will tell our truths — the truth — in time, and work to ensure that future generations of athletes, no matter their level of skill or sport of choice, are spared of what we were not.

We are forever indebted to our fierce and tireless victims’ advocate, Karen Bellehumeur, and could not have survived this process without her.

— Melanie (Rocca) Hunt, April Nicholls, Alheli Picazo, Abby (Pearson) Spadafora, Alysia Topol, Athlete A, Athlete B, Athlete H, Athlete I, Athlete J, Athlete K