21 November 2017

South Africa: MeToo - Early Research Hints At Vulnerability of Young South African Athletes


Of a sample size of 2,000 girls participating in sport, at least 5% have experienced some level of sexual abuse or harassment, according to research conducted by The Girls Only Project. And project leader Kirsten van Heerden believes that figure is vastly under-reported. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.

The #MeToo campaign has laid the sexual abuse and harassment of women in Hollywood bare and subsequently led to many other woman from all walks of life speaking out and sharing their stories. Abuse in sport has not escaped the spotlight.

In the United States, of the 108 people on USA Swimming's list of individuals banned from the sport, at least 90 were banned for sexual misconduct. More than 50 have been arrested, charged, or convicted in connection with those crimes.

South African Bob Hewitt, a Grand Slam winner, is serving a six-year jail sentence for rape. Charges of sexual assault were brought against US Olympic Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar by gold medallist McKayla Maroney. Hope Solo, the US women's goalkeeper, accused Sepp Blatter of harassment. The list is grim and makes for grim reading.

But away from the elite sport, young athletes, especially those from rural communities, are incredibly vulnerable.

The Girls Only...

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