While sexual assault in the sports world deserves way more media coverage and action attached to said coverage, it certainly is refreshing to read news about colleges making strides to protect their students.
While the legislation is very limited as far as what counts against sexual assault perpetrators, Indiana University announced that it will refuse student-athlete applicants convicted for or with a history of sexual assault. This is definitely an ethical move for Indiana but a good PR tactic as well seeing that the school was under fire in the past for administrative staff being accused of sexual assault. Critics believe that this may just be a move in the interest of recruiting for the university and not a safety precaution for the students.
I believe the benefits in this case may outweigh the negative comments. Students will feel protected knowing that those who have committed sexual assault crimes will not be a part of the community of glorified athletes on their campus. Indiana also has programs in place to protect students from sexual assault in general. I do believe the new policy should be rewritten to include sections about when athletes are accused of sexual assault and already have an athletic scholarship. The university definitely needs to revisit the topic to broaden the safety aspect of it, but all in all, I’m grateful that strides such as this one are being made in the area of sexual assault on college campuses.
I would be remised if I didn’t highlight this topic in my blog about women in sports, because it is important and it deserves to be talked about. In our society rape and sexual assault are topics many fail to adequately talk about with young girls, which makes it harder for them to deal with it. We pretend it doesn’t happen, so when it does, some women are too ashamed to talk about it. Rape and sexual assault undeniably happens to men and women alike in the sports world, but the first time I was ever introduced to the topic publicly was a few years ago.
Larry Nassar, 53, was accused publicly of having assaulted dozens of young women, most of the cases disguised as medical treatment. Nasser worked at Michigan State for about twenty years as a team physician. He also worked with USA Gymnastics during the same time frame. This man has clearly worked very closely with women, giving him several opportunities to commit crimes against them. At this point, up to 69 women have accused him of some form of sexual assault. Last month, Nassar was accused of deleting evidence of child pornography that would’ve been used to convict him of his crimes. He faces up to a lifetime in prison.
The funny things is I haven’t read or heard anything else about Nassar’s case since it first opened. Something as big as this should be constantly in the news reminding sexual assault victims that if they tell their stories, justice can be obtained. Rape culture is still alive and well today, and it’s time we dealt with it openly, publicly, and viscously. It is very easy for a man or women to disguise sexual assault as medical treatment when working closely with the female population in the sports world. Cases like this staying in the public eye could help save the mental and spiritual lives of lots of women just trying to prove themselves in sports.
Girls: if you know someone who is a victim of sexual assault, whether it’s a friend or yourself, don’t be afraid to tell someone. You deserve justice.