Hello all! I know I had previously promised an entry on how to be a better athlete without damaging your future health, however, I have decided to postpone that entry until next week. As I have stated in previous entries, some of my ideas for articles are based on current events, and that is what this week is about. A friend posted an article on Facebook from ESPN which is a commentary speaking out about rape within the athletic population, and that got my creative writing juices going! So first things first, read the article (it’s short and sweet, I promise): http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/9845262/society-fails-victims-sexual-assault-stigmatized
My initial thoughts upon reading this article are DUH, and thank you! Macgregor does an excellent job in his article of not referring to all victims being specifically female, but it should be explicitly stated that many males are victims of sexual abuse within athletics as well. Sexual abuse and the rape culture within sports are silenced even more than that of the general population, which makes it even more stigmatizing. Researchers have also stated that sport is a breeding ground for both victims and abusers of sexual assault, which is even more troublesome. There is a good bit of scholarly research on the subject, but to my knowledge no programs are aggressively addressing the issue (if you know of any please let me know). I am a firm advocate of educating athletes, and allowing them access to professional support. By providing not only the athletes with education on how to not be a abuser or a victim, but also the community at large. This is especially true within high schools and colleges. I recommend the high school or college communities as well, because sometimes it may be perceived as “cool” to have engaged in sexual intercourse with an athlete, even if they did not consent or were not in a sober state to give consent.
Macgregor is right, that in order to change the horrific rape culture that is in rampant within our country and athletics, change needs to happen immediately, better yet, like 5 years ago. People need to stop discounting victims and start charging abusers. Abusers also need to start receiving punishment. If abuser’s keep getting let off from their charges, that sends the message that it is ok for them and others to continue doing what they are doing because nothing bad will happen. News flash, bad things have already happened as a result. Deaths and lives have been ruined because of rapists not being charged and victims being silenced.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse you can find confidential help through the national sexual abuse hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE. You can also report the abuse to the police (911) or visit a local hospital and report and they will help you contact the police.
While this subject is very disheartening (and rage inducing), it is very real and requires attention. But I want to leave you with hope, hope that the rape culture will be diminished soon, and that if you have been a victim of sexual abuse or assault that there are ample resources for you to regain your strength.
“the theme you choose may change, or simply elude you, but being your own story means you can always choose the tone. It also means that you can invent the language to say who you are and what you mean” – Toni Morrison