The world of sports has been riddled with sexual abuse scandals and incidents of harassment and bullying for many decades. These negative behaviors can come from trusted coaches, peers, parents or anyone else in contact with young athletes.
Sadly there is no consistently collected data on the prevalence of these transgressions. There is reason to believe that news reports and limited data from sport governing bodies are just the “tip of the iceberg”:
- Over the past decade 159 coaches in the Washington area have been fired or reprimanded for sexual misconduct, from harassment to rape.
- Coaches, after being caught in some cases, are allowed to continue coaching.
- USA Swimming lists 59 coaches that have received a lifetime ban.
Sports organizations, from privately owned local clubs and teams to national sport governing organizations and coaches associations, have not been responding to this issue very effectively.
Abuse in youth sports reveals itself in many different ways; emotional, sexual abuse, physical abuse, bullying, harassment and neglect.
There are still too many unanswered questions that need to be addressed to be able to protect young athletes from the unethical and potentially criminal actions of offenders:
- What screening should be in place to prevent abuse of athletes?
- When do sports organizations step in to enforce professional conduct?
- When are local authorities to be notified of possible criminal behavior?
- Must the sport community wait until there is evidence from the authorities that an act of abuse has occurred before they take action?
As is true with many not-for-profit organizations, Safe4Athletes was born out of the personal experiences of its founder, Katherine Starr. Having being an elite athlete who endured sexual abuse during the course of her career, with no resources available to help her, she simply wanted to do something to ensure that athletes following in her footsteps did not have to repeat her legacy.
Lets join together and discover the how to make sport a safe and positive experience for all athletes with Katherine Starr, joining me Dave Ferguson, LIVE at BEYONDtheCheers on blogtalkradio on Wednesday, October 15th at 7PM EST. Listen each Friday at NOON to the repeat broadcast on AMFM247 or at anytime on iHeart Radio or iTunes on demand and at Stitcher.com.