By the time college athletes arrive to campus, many have already been personally exposed to incidents of violence. Whether against women – through a teammate, friend or family member, most victims were never taught to understand, process or prevent situations from happening.
The full impact of violent encounters is often extreme for victims and can affect them for the rest of their lives.
The campus environment combined with the culture of big time college athletics can be seen as a devastating mix, especially since one in five women on campus will experience a sexual assault or an attempted rape.
Athletes are often seen as role models and leaders in their communities. They can have a huge influence towards minimizing violence and improving societal standards.
The National Coalition Against Violent Athletes (NCAVA) and numerous other sports bodies have been concerned that those athletes who influence behaviour in sports can actually generate negative attitudes and affect the safety of sport with a win at all costs atmosphere.
They believe that educating athletes about gender and relationship violence is paramount to the success of any competitive team. They use a victim empathy technique, where athletes engage in active, open and guided dialogue about sexual and domestic violence, the trivialization and ramifications of aggressive behavior and its impact on victims, teammates and the program as a whole.
The NCAVA is dedicated to a concept of sports as an activity that promotes positive life skills in athletes so that they develop into respectful, productive role models. They provide some interesting statistics in regards to college athletes:
- A three-year study shows that while male student-athletes comprise 3.3% of the population, they represent 19% of sexual assault perpetrators and 35% of domestic violence perpetrators. (Benedict/Crosset Study)
- One in three college sexual assaults are committed by athletes.
- In the three years before 1988, an average of 1000 charges were brought against athletes each year.
- In 1995, while only 8.5% of general population was charged with assault, 36.8% of athletes were charged with assault.
- The general population has a conviction rate of 80% while the conviction rate of an athlete is 38%.
Katherine Redmond Brown founded the NCAVA when her historic Title IX case, against the University of Nebraska and her perpetrators, was settled in 1997. After learning how to navigate the system that protects athletes and vilifies victims, she announced the formation of the group in New York City in 1998 to make ending athlete violence her life mission.
The National Coalition Against Violent Athletes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals affected by athlete violence through comprehensive services including advocacy, legal aid, education and counseling.
Their mission is also to eliminate off-the-field violence by athletes, through the implementation of prevention methods that develop the positive leadership potential of athletes within their teams and their communities.
Let’s restore the positive attributes of sports and reduce related violent incidents, with Katherine Redmond Brown, who joins us LIVE at BEYONDtheCheers on blogtalkradio on Wednesday, October 1st at 7PM EST. Listen each Friday at NOON to our repeat broadcast on AMFM247 or at anytime on iHeart Radio or iTunes on demand and at Stitcher.com.