While sports are commonly thought to “be a safe, healthy environment which contributes to the positive development of young people, it is also an area where violence can manifest itself in various ways, including sexual assault.” Between 2 and 8 percent of all Canadian athletes are victims in sexual abuse at some point in their careers, a number which may come as a surprise to sports fans and sexual abuse prevention advocates alike.
Concerns for the safety and wellbeing of child and young adult victims have seen a sharp rise in recent years as incidents of sexual abuse in any environment—including athletics—are brought to the public’s attention thanks to the #MeToo movement and similar visibility efforts.
In as many as 98 percent of these incidents, the perpetrators of sexual abuse were coaches, teachers or instructors of the victims, violating the sense of trust and kinship that is highly valued in the context of an athletic team.
Is Sexual Abuse in Elite Sports a Hidden Epidemic?
The Chronicle Herald reported yesterday that Konstanty Bedoa-Gorski a director and coach of a Halifax based program for high performance teen soccer players was sentenced to two years in prison for sexually assaulting one of his players, a 14 year old girl.
Family ripped apart
Judge Michael Sherar said Bedoa-Gorski took advantage of a dedicated player who was hungry for extra training and groomed her for sexual satisfaction. Judge Sherar said that Bedoa-Gorski’s actions had “ripped apart” the victim’s family.