Over the course of time, the sports world has had its fair share of controversies. According to a survey conducted by pickypickleball.com, The accounts of sexual abuse with sports coaches and athletes are nothing new to the news outlets of sports reporters and fans, most especially when these athletes would end up dating their own coaches. When the coaches gain more reason and power to have control, the line between abuse and care is more often than not blurred for the athletes.
Due to the power and influence that coaches have over the athletes in the team, they would receive protection instead of backlash once news of them inflicting abuse would come to light. This puts abused athletes into a tough position, since they receive both the abuse, shame, and silence from their own families. This can be the case for athletes of less popular sports such as Pickleball, eventing, and handball, whose coaches could land them opportunities to make it big.
The #MeToo movement
As the #MeToo movement comes to a rise and accounts of abused athletes surface among netizens, some authorities have made an effort to impose rules that disallow coaches and athletes to date regardless of the qualifications and circumstances.
Rules may be established, and it would be easy to follow for athletes involved in lesser known sports. Pickleball athletes, for instance, are in the sport solely for recreation; thus, it becomes less likely for power play to happen. However, for more famous sports that make it to the olympics, strings may be pulled here and there to keep the abuse hidden and running. Laws were implemented by the government to ensure that sexual abuse is prevented, and justice will be given for the victims.
Yet, are these restrictions enough to hinder sexual abuse in sports?
Aside from an online hashtag movement to expose the sexual abuse cases among Olympic athletes, associations like Champion Women and SafeSports have come to rise, along with reformed laws, to protect female athletes that experience sexual abuse and retain their careers in the sports world.
These organizations and centers have stated to continue to perpetuate sexual offenders towards athletes despite stated lack of evidence by the justice system. Despite having loopholes in laws, along with the controversies of malicious intent from these organizations, it has been a huge step for the protection and wellbeing of athletes against rampant sexual abuse in the industry.
Abuse is happening and measures are being taken and implemented, so what comes next?
The awareness of sexual abuse in communities is a constant battle for the victims, and a constant cycle of tolerance and continuity when taken lightly. Although we seem powerless, we are actually capable of amplifying the voices of the victims and help bring justice to where it’s due regardless of status, power, position, and occupation.
Maybe the next time you know of someone being abused on your neighborhood, take the time to educate them of the possible ways they can stay protected and feel protected.