Leaving the office one day, she mentioned she was going for a therapy session to a colleague. He was incredibly encouraging—he’d been in therapy before himself, and found it helpful.
"I think the best thing a male colleague can do is listen. It may be hard to understand when you've never personally been in that position before. But try to help the person feel their worth and value — not just as a person but as a professional."
With professional help, Semra began to recover her sense of security. She continued working as a football commentator for a Spanish broadcaster the whole time. But to consider the episode over, she wanted to ‘get back on the horse’ by covering the Champions League again on the same network.
When the draw for the game she’d report on was announced, she couldn’t believe it: Liverpool vs Real Madrid. Again.
Getting back in the game
While many people might have taken this coincidence as a bad omen, Semra chose to see it as a positive.
“I spun it around and thought, maybe this is a perfect opportunity for me to really finally close the door on this.”
Semra was extremely nervous before kick-off. But in the end, it went fine. In fact, she’s since reported on five Champions League games and had an overwhelmingly positive experience.
But no matter how careful Semra is, she knows it’s likely that disgruntled fans will pile on her again sometime in her media career. Backlash is an occupational hazard when you’re a professional opinion-haver. And in a media landscape dominated by six-second videos, statements are taken out of context all the time.
But she's learning not to take the hate to heart—and to keep her inner imposter quiet.
“As traumatic as it was, I think it’s made me a better professional. And maybe a better person. I have learned a lot that I’ll carry with me.”
By getting support after this painful experience, Semra gained tools to navigate the lows that come with the dizzying highs of being a prominent female spokesperson for such a beloved sport.
“If you’re experiencing hate comments due to your work, remember: you don’t have to go through it alone. Seek out other women or individuals in your industry who you can trust and confide in. Chances are, they’ve experienced the same problems at some point—and will be grateful for the chance to talk about it.”