Sexual Assaults occurring in Sports

Seth Goldstein (TC)'s picture

Over the past few years and especially in recent months, we have seen reports come out about sexual violence and assaults occurring in the sports world. In instances where young athletes are supposed to feel comfortable with their coaches, teams, trainers etc., they are getting betrayed. 

Obviously, most recently, we saw one of the largest sexual assault cases in sports brought by Larry Nassar. Larry Nassar was a physician and trainer at Michigan State University and most notable as being the head trainer for the United States Women Gymnastics teams. Athletes began going to Larry Nassar as young as 10 years old and put their trust in his hands. Larry Nassar has been accussed of assaulting over 200-300 young women. Just as troubling as his own actions were, the university's actions were just as disgusting. The University knew about this allegations well before they came out to the public this year and hid the evidence as a way to uphold their reputation. Because of the University's inactions, they helped Larry Nassar affect the lives of hundreds more. Not only did this happen, but allegations came out right after about the University trying to hide sexual assault allegations pertaining to the men's basketball team. 

This is not the first time where sexual assaults occurred in sports and they were hid to keep the revenue flowing and the reputation high. I am sure everyone remembers the Penn State scandal where Jerry Sandusky victimized young males in the showers of the men's football team. Head coach Joe Paterno knew about the abuse and failed to go to the police, but instead only told the President of the school. The President of the school never handled the issue properly, law enforcement was never involved, and much more victims were affected as a result. 

Recently, more sexual assault cases came out in another sports: swimming. According to multiple sports and news outlets, the USA swimming committee covered up hundreds of sexual assault cases over the past few decades. In more than 20 years, over 252 swim coaches and officials have been arrested, charged or discplined for sexual abuse. Almost 600 total victims. And the USA swimming kept this quiet and tried to hide it in order to uphold they reputation. In fact, they even went so far as to try to change legislation in California to make it harder to sue for sexual assault cases. 

As you can see, there are so many instances of sexual assaults in sports and instances of them getting covered up. So there are questions that can be answered:

Who is to blame for the sexual assault prevelance and the cover ups of these appaling actions?

What measures can be taken in order to prevent sexual assaults in sports going forward?

What about the athletes? What kind of support systems can be created for them?