Don’t overlook abuse in sports

In light of major accusations against stars such as Jian Ghomeshi and Bill Cosby, debate has resurfaced regarding what can be done about sexual abuse. Victims, who may gain confidence in making accusations after other women publically decry similar types of abuse, sometimes don’t initially feel that anyone would believe them.

Recently, an article by Outside magazine uncovered sexual abuse directed at 13-year-old swimmer Anna Strzempko that occurred over a number of years while she was training.

The abuse, which occurred at the hand of her coach, was allegedly covered up by USA Swimming in order to preserve its image. This led to the resurfacing of other similar cases that highlighted what seems to be rampant abuse in youth sports like swimming.

This problem is not inherent to swimming. Other sports, such as tae kwon do, speed skating and even youth football have also been reported to be plagued by sexual abuse cases between coaches and athletes. College athletics are no stranger to these types of problems, either. Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky scandal is an obvious example.

We applaud the courage it must have taken Strzempko to publically discuss her story. Abuse in youth sports — or any activity in which a leader is able to take advantage of their position — should be subject to scrutiny. Anyone shown to facilitate this abuse, especially by cover-up, should also be held accountable.