Comparison of elite athletes’ sexual violence experiences in and outside sport

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Background: Research on the prevalence of sexual violence in sport mostly focuses on incidents of sexual violence that happen in the context of sport, but few studies are available that systematically target the lifetime prevalence of sexual violence in the athletes (as persons), combining experiences in sport and outside the sport system. The aim of the current study was thus to compare sexual violence experiences of elite athletes in Germany in sport with those outside sport. Methods: The study was carried out in cooperation with the German Olympic and Paralympic Committee who contacted their registered elite athletes. In total, 1529 elite athletes took part in an online survey and answered questions regarding their sexual violence experiences first in the context of sport and afterwards outside the sport context. Results: Results show that 54.2% of the athletes had experienced some form of sexual violence during their lifetime, 20.6% even a severe incident of sexual violence. Incidents happened more often outside sport than in sport, but 48% of the victims were affected in both areas of life, indicating a high overlap of victimization experiences. Conclusion: One recommendation from our results is therefore to make even stronger efforts to protect young athletes from becoming a victim of sexual violence. In case a sport club has a person of trust in the club, it can be an important place for athletes with sexual violence experiences (no matter whether experienced inside or outside sport), so that they are being heard and helped.
Translated title of the contributionVergleich der Erfahrungen sexualisierter Gewalt im Sport und außerhalb des Sports bei Kaderathlet*innen
Original languageEnglish
JournalGerman Journal of Exercise and Sport Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)435-443
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2020

ID: 5536361

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