FROM HEAVEN TO HELL: THE STORY OF VERONA VAN DE LEUR
Verona van de Leur started practicing gymnastics at the age of five. At fourteen, she became the champion of the Netherlands. Only a year later together with her teammates she got the fifth place at the world championship, which was a spectacular success thanks to which the young gymnasts were chosen the country’s best team of that year. Two years later Van de Leur became the rising star of the discipline worldwide. She won 5 medals during the championship of Europe and started winning in other disciplines like jumping, balance beam or all-round events. At this moment the story starts to get worse. High expectations from the society and parents who were too demanding led to Verona getting injury after injury. She lost her place in the national team and first thought of committing a suicide at the age of 17. At the age of 22 she ended her career and became homeless and spent two years sleeping in a car. In 2010 she was wandering through the park when she saw a pair making love there. She filmed and blackmailed them demanding 2000 euro for not putting the video online, for which she got arrested and spent 72 days in jail, hitting the front pages of newspapers again. In 2011 she got a proposition to play in porn videos using her real name. The decision did not come easily, but together with her boyfriend they decided to do something with their lives and that was the only proposition they had. First she played herself, later she opened her own company and employed actor and actresses as well. The business helped her to get out the financial problems. Now she works as a model, author of books and a blogger. In 2019 she quit the porn business. Today she visits schools and tells the young people how to deal with problems and avoid being abused and forced to work beyond human capabilities.
A CALL FOR HELP – LITERALLY
Barbara Alex Kobielska
During the times of the quarantine home abuse has gotten twice as severe and frequent. Especially children are much more vulnerable with no escape and place to forget about their family life, isolated and alone. The situation concerning the coronavirus isn’t getting any better and the society is frustrated and tired, often in difficult conditions, losing jobs and with an unclear future. It is easy for adults to fall into a habit of releasing their frustration in arguments and fights and also both physical and mental abuse on their partners and children or falling into alcohol and drug abuse.
A woman named Krystyna Paszko came up with a secret code for abuse victims to call for help. The recipient is supposed to be a worker of a fictitious shop selling natural cosmetics, but really is a psychologist, waiting to send help. If a person calling will create a fake order and give the recipient their address, the securities will be called. The idea has been inspired by a similar code in France, where such victims can call any pharmacy and order a mask with the number 19, meaning they need help and securities must be called.
The secret code is already in use and has helped in several cases where people were asking for help and immediate intervention.
CONFISCATED ITEMS HEL FIGHT THE CORONAVIRUS
The pandemic is still developing. The number of patients is growing, and they need hospitalization. At the same time all people have to pay extra attention to the aspects of hygiene. This all drastically brings up the demand for medical equipment like masks and disinfection liquids. Some of the hospitals notice lack of various types of necessary equipment, including other parts of protection wear. There is also a list of different institutions which now need products of that kind. Many people decided to help by sewing the masks and donating them to health related institutions. Also the fashion stores decided to introduce these items to their offer to make them more available for private customers. The bigger problem appears in the aspect of producing the alcohol-based liquids. The police, being in the possession of some confiscated goods, decided to make a better use of them. Here is an example. Wroclaw police gave 95 liters of illegal 93% ethanol to Wałbrzych emergency service station, so that they can use it to make workers and patients safer. The alcohol was confiscated during the investigation, which was performed in cooperation with national Public Prosecutor’s office. The case concerned a criminal group stealing luxury cars. On the 14th of April it was decided decided the alcohol should be given to the life-guards. It was delivered the next day. This action is not an exception. A similar example of the police sharing illegal items in the name of fighting the virus is the one from Olsztyn. How the police spokesperson Iwona Jurkiewicz informs, Olsztyn unit of CBŚP took over more than 10 cubic meters of alcohol from the criminal groups specialized in illegal trades. Some of it was already given to the institutions like fire department or sanitary inspections. Also the Lodz unit of CBŚP and the KAS are in the process of passing 1300 liters of alcohol acquired when breaking up a criminal group to the hospitals in the region. There is more. In 2018 the policemen have confiscated over 3000 bed sheets, in which three tonnes of cannabis were hidden during transportation. The bed sheets can now be changed into about 200 thousand masks. On the policemen initiative the court agreed to donate them to the services fighting the coronavirus pandemic, so the materials were passed along to the University Clinical Hospital in Wroclaw.
„THE LAST DANCE” AN INSTANT HIT ON BOTH ESPN AND NETFLIX
Sports fans not being able to watch their favourite sports is the least of humanity’s worries these days. Million dollar athletes being paid a million or two less is right up there in that same category of insignificance. People also seem to be growing tired of sports journalists publishing stories of long-forgotten athletes/games/championships – even fb/yt premieres of full-length past world-cup games from different disciplines aren’t going to draw hundreds of thousands of fans to the screen. Wait, we take that back. There is one exception. Last Sunday, April 19th, ESPN premiered its 10-episode doc. series „The Last Dance” and 6.3 million people watched it that night! It also became an instant top-10 hit on Netflix (only the European one (!), it will only hit the American part of the service in late May). “The Last Dance”, directed by Jason Hehir, is a documentary on Michael Jordan’s final year with the Chicago Bulls and features previously unreleased footage from the 1997-98 season, their last championship year. How come was the footage never before seen? Simple: Jordan granted filmmakers the access on condition that „he gets to approve whatever was done with it.” And so it never saw light for over 20 years! As Louisa Thomas of the New Yorker puts it: „It’s perfectly in Michael’s image: impeccably produced, authentic but highly self-conscious, incredibly entertaining, and seemingly existing within a sealed universe.” Make that part of your universe please and watch it for goodness sake. If only to never again debate who was and will forever remain the greatest basketballer of all time.
1. Letting a former porn star give lectures at schools is a good idea.
2. A help line with a secret code can effectively can be effective in helping victims of home violence.
3. All confiscated items should be destroyed, not used in a different way.
4. Watching sport events or concerts from the past can be attractive nowadays.