Sexual Abuse in Sports: The Problem No One Wants To Talk About
While reliable statistics are not available, what data there is indicates that sexual harassment and abuse by authority figures in sports is widespread, especially among elite athletes. A Canadian study of elite and recently retired Olympic athletes reported that more than one in five had had sexual intercourse with persons in positions of authority (coaches, administrators etc.) in sport. Of this total 8.6 percent reported being raped. Almost one in ten of those who reported abuse were under 16 years old at the time of the sexual assault.
While reducing the risk of sexual abuse in sports - because it is so often never reported or discussed - is a difficult task made more challenging by the refusal of so many in the youth sports community to even acknowledge its existence, sexual abuse of youth athletes - boys as well as girls - can be prevented through a combination of education (knowing the warning signs of sexual abuse) and action (background checks, two-adult rule etc.).
MomsTeam's goal is to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of the problem of sexual abuse in youth sports. But to do that we are going to need your help. If you are a parent of an athlete who has been sexually abused, or who you suspect is being abused, or health care professional treating sexual abuse or an academic studying the issue, we hope you will share what you have learned with the entire MomsTeam community of parents, coaches, administrators, athletic trainers, physicians, academics, and health care professionals.
Please consider writing a blog, contributing an article, posting on and/or hosting a Forum, or becoming an expert. If you know of someone who who has knowledge to share, ask him or her to join the MomsTeam community.
If you don’t find what the information you are looking for in this Center, or if you just want to talk to other parents whose kids have been abused in sports, we also invite you to participate in one of our Forums by clicking on the tab at the top of the page to find the appropriate forum in which to ask your question or start a new one. Together as a team, we can make youth sports a place where children are safe from sexual predators.