Posts in Respect in Sport

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Experts address issues around keeping girls in sport

February 26th, 2019 Respect in Sport

SOURCE: Red Deer Advocate 

BYRON HACKETT

Feb. 26, 2019 7:00 a.m.

Vicki Harber is hoping to make an impact outside the lines at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Harber, who has a PhD, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta from the Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation and one of several panelists who has been invited to speak at Coach House in the Athlete’s Village at the Games.

Along with former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, the duo discussed keeping girls in sport and recognizing women who coach in their Monday night fireside chat.

Harber, who is helping shape athlete development programs for young females across Canada was also here last week as part of the panel put on by the Coaching Association of Canada during Week one. She said the focus inevitably shifted to what the research is saying about how to keep girls involved in sport between the ages of 12 to 16.

Research on the topic is plentiful, she noted sometimes it can be as simple as finding a mentor, whether it is an adult or even an older student.

Another major factor in the dropout rate, or even getting girls involved in the first place is the notion sport is only for high-level competition. Harber said the community building aspect of sport is sometimes overlooked in our ultra-competitive society. When in reality, it could be a place for us to focus our attention if we want to keep young athletes involved longer.

“I think sport has lost its way a little bit, particularly community sport. Around making it more than just the high-performance pathway,” Harber said.

“We get extremely fixated on excellence at way too young an age. Girls in particular, because of some of their social circumstances – if they don’t feel like they’re a star performer, why the heck would they put themselves in that situation to begin with.”

That all is affected by coaching, which Harber noted is an important piece of the conversation as well. Not just high-level, elite coaches who push athletes to the podium, but ones who stress team and community building, hard work and dedication at all levels. That will help make better coaches down the road, but also younger mentors in sport for their peers.

“If they’ve had quality experiences and a coach that can help them feel a sense of belonging and this value piece. Not every athlete is going to be able to wear red and white or provincial colours. How can a coach create a culture that everyone can contribute?” Harber asked.

“We’ve heard stories along the way about athletes who haven’t made it into those higher levels of performance, but because of a wise coach will say, ‘I think you’ve got a really good eye for the game or you’ve got strong communication style, have you ever thought of coaching?’ ”

In the end, the conversations around sport, good and bad, are helping organizations, coaches and athletes alike. Advancing the conversation forward in order to push the boundaries about making sports a better place for everyone, is as important as the lessons learned along the way.

“The more we have conversations about it, I think the more normalized the whole thing becomes. We’re in some lightning rod times with various issues around sport and treatment of girls and young athletes,” she said.

“There’s no shortage of areas in which we can create dialogue over and as long as they are approached with some open minds, we can’t help but make things better.”

sport, abuse, abuse prevention, ottawa, funding for prevention, athlete abuse, safe sport, safe sport summit, code of conduct sport Canada, sexual abuse sport Canada, respect, respect group

Ottawa announces steps to eliminate abuse in sport

February 21st, 2019 Respect in Sport

SOURCE: CBC NEWS, With files from Jamie Strashin, Devin Heroux, Lori Ward and Doug Harrison

Federal government will invest more than $200K in helping develop a nationwide code of conduct

Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan and the Coaching Association of Canada announced two initiatives on Thursday in Ottawa to address abuse and harassment in sport.

Calls for action followed an investigation by CBC News and Sports that revealed at least 222 coaches involved in amateur sports over 20 years have been convicted of sex offences involving over 600 victims under age 18.

Duncan reiterated Thursday that the CBC News and Sports investigation “broke her heart.”

She announced:

  • More than $200,000 will be allocated for a Safe Sport Summit Series aimed at helping develop a national code of conduct.
  • The creation of a Gender Equity Secretariat, a department responsible with the development and implementation of a gender equity strategy.

In March, a series of regional workshops will be held across Canada that will include:

  • Provincial, territorial and national sport organizations.
  • Athletes.
  • Safe sport organizations.
  • Groups independent of sport organizations such as researchers and child advocates.

​A national Safe Summit in Ottawa will be held in the spring.

Sexual offences

The CBC News and Sports investigation involved searching through thousands of court records and media articles, and visiting courthouses across Canada. What emerged, for the first time, was a detailed database of sexual offences committed by amateur athletic coaches.

The charges include offences such as sexual assault, sexual exploitation, child luring, and making or possessing child pornography. Most but not all the victims were athletes training with a coach; in all cases, the accused was charged between 1998 and 2018, but the offences may have occurred earlier.

A number of high-profile sexual assault complaints involving national team coaches prompted Duncan to announce new rules last week in Red Deer, Alta.

Beginning in 2020, sport organizations that receive federal funding must have a policy to address abuse and provide mandatory training to their members. MORE

Sheldon Kennedy, mp Kristy duncan, ottawa, sport, abuse, sport abuse, coach, coach abuse, sport coach abuse,

Making sports safer for kids is a never-ending fight

February 19th, 2019 Respect in Sport, Sheldon Kennedy
The Star

 

On Wednesday of this week in Sarnia, gymnastics coach Dave Brubaker was acquitted of sexual assault and sexual exploitation. The former national women’s team coach had been accused by a former athlete, who was deemed credible by the court, but the judge cited police errors in the course of the investigation. Brubaker walked.

Also this week, the CBC released the results of a data-driven investigation that showed that over the past 20 years, at least 222 coaches in Canadian amateur sport had been convicted of sexual offences with more than 600 victims who were under 18 at the time of the offence. Some people who knew better professed to be shocked.

 

“This isn’t a shock,” says Sheldon Kennedy, the founder of the Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre. “The centre does 150 new investigations every month, and that’s just in Calgary. And they’re talking about 20 years.”

But the CBC spurred conversation, even if the conversation was already underway. Friday afternoon, Sports Minister Kirsty Duncan was in Red Deer, with her provincial and territorial counterparts, announcing The Red Deer Declaration, which they said committed to gender equity in sport by 2024, zero tolerance to abuse, and some other principles.

“Athletes must be at the centre of everything we do,” Duncan said. “They are not commodities. They are people, and they need to be respected.”

Principles are only a start, though; check the London Declaration of 2001. This is another try. Nothing like this moves quickly. But sometimes, it moves.

It is disturbingly easy to look at the sports system in Canada and especially the United States in a vacuum and conclude something is wrong. In 2018, doctor Larry Nassar was convicted of sexually abusing hundreds of girls in U.S. gymnastics, and the cover-up appears to have extended to both USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. In Canada, Brubaker skated, but national ski coach Bernard Charest was convicted last year of 37 sex-related charges.

There are many more examples. In December of 2018, Wrestling Canada took the unusual step of making an internal report on its culture — replete with harassment, sexism, sexual relationships between coaches and athletes and officials, among other problems — public. The federation expressed contrition, while detailing steps toward safer sport.

Like the #MeToo movement, it all has the feeling of long-hidden truths surfacing, and in concert with society, the urgency over the conversation has ratcheted up significantly in the past two or three years. There is as much urgency now as there has ever been. Skiers who were abused by Charest are suing Alpine Canada in Quebec for $1.35 million, including $450,000 in non-insured punitive damages.

“Don’t you think we can learn from what happened in the United States?” says Lorraine Lafrenière, CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada. “Didn’t USA Gymnastics have to declare bankruptcy?”

 

“There was no more room, and it was time for the explosion,” said one Canadian sports executive. “It’s cumulative.”

But it’s gotten better, too. Kennedy and his partner Wayne McNeil have been at the forefront of safety and training in sport for over 20 years, since Kennedy came forward after being sexually abused by his junior hockey coach, Graham James. They have seen everything evolve.

“We were laughed out of rooms,” says McNeil. “And people said it was a hockey problem or it’s not as big a deal. Today they say, we need this (coach and parent training) program as a recruitment and retention tool. And if you don’t have it, then that’s a problem.”

Kennedy talks about how it used to be all about catching the bad guy, and over the years he has come to realize prevention — strengthening the bystander, creating common and shared language on abuse, creating a culture that abhors criminal acts, but also bullying or discrimination or harassment, fostering a belief that safety trumps everything else — is critical.

“I think the gaps, from what we can see, (are in the) reporting structure and the follow-up structure,” Kennedy says. “Campaigns around telling people talk, talk, talk, and when people reach out for help that’s hard to find. That’s the gap. This has got to be an independent funded entity, that’s going to make sure that it handles these issues properly for all sports and youth-serving organizations across the country. It’s got to be robust.”

Duncan says they are working on a third-party reporting entity. It would cost money. Quebec tried something similar, and the system was overwhelmed. According to the CBC, the number of coaches charged and convicted virtually doubled from 1998-2008 to the following decade.

Which, most likely, is good news. Kennedy will tell you: The problem has been there all along. More cases almost certainly means more people are actually speaking aloud.


So what next? Duncan, a former gymnast and longtime dance coach, has been sports minister for a little over a year. Her government faces an election in the fall, and has had itself a tumultuous week.

“When I came into this role about a year ago, my number one priority was addressing abuse, discrimination, harassment in sport,” Duncan said in an interview this week. “It is a system problem, it is a culture problem.”

But she seems committed. Lafrenière says she has never seen as much interest on safe sport from any sports minister. Ahmed El-Awadi, the head of Swimming Canada and a co-chair of Duncan’s safe sport working group, thinks there is a chance for significant change. There are signs actual initiatives could be unveiled next week.

“Here’s what people need to understand: Predators will never be completely eradicated,” says Lafrenière. “So what they do is they find an industry — the Catholic Church, say — and take advantage of its weakness. Then they went to Scouts. They found a weakness and they used that. And that’s what happened in sport, because we’re such a volunteer-driven country in sport, which is beautiful but it’s also the problem. So yes, sport has a problem. But this is a bigger problem.

“Things like (#MeToo) have pushed it forward. I think that’s good. I think that’s a change we need to see in the sports system, and in every system. It’s allowed us to say out loud as a system: No, it’s not performance over safety.”

Beyond the independent third-party reporting system, goals could include a harmonized code of conduct, and a harmonized code of sanctions. There are already pilot programs to give poorer sports access to the investigative resources the bigger federations can afford, and that seems likely to become policy. In a country where the RCMP can’t legally publish the names of child sex offenders, El-Awadi thinks Swimming Canada has a solution. Coaches have to recertify every September, and starting this year will have to sign a waiver that specifies any disciplinary procedure will be noted, and will be published online.

“Hopefully, reading these articles (athletes) say, it’s OK,” says El-Awadi. “It’s OK to say something. It’s OK to tell. You don’t have to call us. You can tell your aunt, your friend, you can go right to the police. We hope that the more we do these interviews, the more they get inspired to say: I have a story. I need to tell somebody.”


Words, actions, policies, money: all of them are needed, some more than others. A chance to get better, is what this is. It isn’t pass-fail; it’s fail less, every year.

“We can create this, and this lightning-rod week will actually make people do it faster,” says Lafrenière. “If we have the same conversation two years from now and we have not done our job, then the system is at risk of being dissolved.”

Nobody believes complete safety will ever be achieved. But what’s the point of sports if it doesn’t protect our children as well as it can? Better can happen; it already has. It just can’t ever stop.

 

sport pei, government pei, safe sport, abuse in sport, training, coach training, respect group, abuse prevention

P.E.I. government, Sport P.E.I. working to protect youth in sport against abuse

February 13th, 2019 Respect in Sport

SOURCE: Nancy Russell · CBC News · 

The P.E.I. government and Sport P.E.I. say they’re taking measures to protect youth in sport, responding to a series by CBC News and Sports on abuse in amateur sport in Canada.

In a written statement to CBC News, the minister responsible for sport, Robert Mitchell, says P.E.I. requires that all provincial sports organizations have an abuse and harassment policy.

Those policies must be confirmed yearly as part of annual funding agreements between the sport division and provincial sports organizations.

Mitchell said the sport organization may choose to develop its own policy or use the policy of its national organization……

Coach training

Sport PEI offers training for coaches around safe sport, including a module on making ethical decisions and another on respect in sport. It will also host a summit on safe sport at the end of March. MORE

Sheldon Kennedy Statement

February 11th, 2019 Respect in Sport, Sheldon Kennedy

 

Sheldon Kennedy and Respect Group fully support the necessary systematic changes required to improve sport to ensure the safety of our youth. We believe that the vast majority of coaches, working with our youth, are there for the right reasons. It has been our goal to educate them on all forms of maltreatment so they have the confidence to carry out their “duty of care”. We will continue that charge.

 

 

About Respect Group Inc.

Respect Group (respectgroupinc.com) was incorporated on April 5th, 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). As Canada’s leading on-line provider of prevention education related to BAHD, Respect Group has certified over 1.2 Million Canadians involved in sport, schools and the workplace. Respect Group is a Certified B Corporation (bcorporation.net).

 

For more information about Respect Group: www.respectinsport.com

 

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CPC / COC Joint Statement

cpc, coc, Canadian olympic committee abuse statement, sport, Canada, abuse,

February 10, 2019

Statement Regarding Safe Sport: Tricia Smith, President Canadian Olympic Committee, Marc-André Fabien, President Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees stand for sport free of harassment, abuse or discrimination of any kind. We are committed to the health and safety of all who play or work for the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic teams and to doing our part to ensure safe sport is the standard.

We will both be in Red Deer, Alberta, next weekend, for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. We look forward to meeting with the Minister of Sport and our partners in the sport system to advance this important conversation and to take action to better safeguard those in sport today and into the future.

Part of our talks will focus on better harmonized mechanisms and actions to address harassment, abuse, and discrimination in the areas of awareness, prevention, reporting, management, and monitoring. The goal is to ensure a common understanding among stakeholders and supporting the safest possible environment for all participants from the club level all the way to Team Canada.

The COC and CPC will be strong and influential voices committed to driving meaningful improvements on this critical issue.

 

 

hayley wickenheiser, women in hockey, respect in sport, respectful sport, hazing in sport, hockey hazing, harassment in sport, coach abuse

Hockey Night in Canada podcast: Women making strides in hockey

January 18th, 2019 Respect in Sport

Rob Pizzo talks to Hayley Wickenheiser about how far the women’s game has come

Source: CBC Sports · 

The Hockey Night In Canada podcast is a weekly CBC Sports production.

In each episode, host Rob Pizzo is joined by colourful characters within hockey to discuss great moments and great players and talk about today’s stars. The Hockey Night podcast brings you beyond the boxscore with insight you won’t find anywhere else.

In this week’s episode of the Hockey Night In Canada podcast, we are talking about women and the impact they have made in hockey.

Women’s hockey has come a long way in the last 30 years.

Women’s hockey really took off after making its Olympic debut in 1998. The thrilling gold-medal game, in which the Americans topped Canada, started one the greatest hockey rivalries of all time.

Since then, women have taken great strides and are now coaching, scouting, broadcasting and making hall of fame speeches.

But there is still room to grow — why doesn’t the NHL have female referees, head coaches or general managers?

Five-time Olympian and four-time gold medallist Hayley Wickenheiser joins Pizzo to discuss women’s growth in the hockey world. In her role as the assistant director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs, she has helped break down barriers and offers insight into what is still considered a male-dominated sport.

WATCH | Hayley Wickenheiser: Hockey is an “old boys’ club and a white male-dominated sport”

This week’s episode focuses on women in hockey — from the front office, to coaching, and also the broadcast booth. 0:59

Cheryl Pounder is a two-time gold medallist, who traded in her stick for a microphone to work as a hockey reporter at the Olympics in Pyeongchang. Pizzo talks to her about her transition into broadcasting.

Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz has a conversation with one of the pioneers of women’s hockey —​ Manon Rhéaume. She was the first woman to play in any of the major North American pro sports leagues, suiting up in net for an exhibition game try out with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992.

Be sure to subscribe to the Hockey Night in Canada podcast to get a new episode each week. It’s available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever you get your podcasts.

Listen to previous Hockey Night podcasts

Episode 14:

With the NHL season reaching the halfway point, it’s time to take a look the highs and lows of the year so far. Stanley Cup champion Glenn Healy helps breakdown what has transpired so far this season.

Episode 13:

We take a look back at the best interviews of 2018, which includes Daniel Carcillo opening up about the hazing he experienced as a member of the Sarnia Sting.

Episode 12: 

Hockey books are the perfect gift for any rabid fan and Jay Baruchel, Ken Reid and James Duthie have a few suggestions that should cover anyone on your holiday lists.

Episode 11:  

The NHL recently confirmed that when the 2021-22 season begins, there will be 32 teams in the league. We take a closer look at Seattle’s expansion bid, the history of expansion, as well as the future of expansion.

Episode 10: 

The axe has fallen on four coaches and one general manager so far this season, but we sometimes forget that coaches are human and have families. Former NHL coach Barry Melrose breaks down what life is like for coaches after they’re fired.

Episode 9:

Hazing has been an accepted part of hockey for decades now. But recently some disturbing stories have come into the public eye. Stories that involved abuse, bullying, and some horrible behaviour … all disguised as “hazing.”

Episode 8: 

They’re a unique breed — the keepers of the crease are often known to be a little eccentric. Ilya Bryzgalov joins in to help explain what makes them so different from their teammates.

Episode 7:

Recent HHOF inductee Jayna Hefford joins Pizzo to break down the 2018 class, while selection committee member Brian Burke sheds some light on who the most important person in the game is — and it may not be who you think.

Episode 6:

Pizzo sits down with Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean to talk about the top storylines one month into the season and MacLean also fuels the debate over who the best player in the game is right now.

Episode 5:

Hockey fans depend on certain trusted insiders to get their breaking news, but how exactly do they get these scoops? Turns out it’s harder work than some might expect.

Episode 4:

The fans love seeing the puck in the net…so what about the poor guys between the pipes? Are they getting pummelled for the sake of rule-tinkering?

Episode 3:

Could there be a more thankless gig? Perfection means being ignored. A single mistake and you are marked for years of noisy abuse. Don Koharski officiated over 1,700 regular season games. He and Pizzo discuss the infamous “donut incident”.

Episode 2:

Rivalries are the heart and soul of NHL excitement, but the days of brawling are mostly a thing of the past. Chris Nilan and Kris Draper talk about those old grudges, while some current players insist rivalries are as hot as ever.

Episode 1: 

At the beginning of every NHL season, hockey fans generally have more questions than answers when it comes to their favourite teams — and the start of the 2018-19 campaign was no different. Pizzo tackled five burning questions on the minds of the hockey faithful.

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Chandra Crawford, Sheldon Kennedy amplify call on Ottawa to police athlete abuse and harassment

January 7th, 2019 Respect in Sport

SOURCE:

 

A group of Canadian sport leaders have lent their voice to the growing chorus calling for an independent body to handle cases of harassment and abuse.

Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy and Olympic cross-country skiing gold medallist Chandra Crawford were among the coalition of some three dozen sport organizations, researchers and athletes who sent an open letter Friday to Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s Minister of Science, Sport and People with Disabilities.

Olympic cross-country skiing gold medallist Chandra Crawford has lent her name to an effort calling on the federal government to create a third-party body to handle cases of harassment and abuse in Canada’s national sports organizations.
Olympic cross-country skiing gold medallist Chandra Crawford has lent her name to an effort calling on the federal government to create a third-party body to handle cases of harassment and abuse in Canada’s national sports organizations.  (JEFF MCINTOSH / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

“Canada is at a crossroads in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of gender-based violence in sport,” the coalition wrote. “It is clear that the 1996 Sport Canada policy to prevent harassment and abuse in sport has not been effective.”

Duncan is expected to present a proposal on dealing with athlete abuse in Canada to cabinet on Tuesday.

 

Safe sport has been governed through the Sport Canada Accountability Framework since it was implemented in 1996 in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal involving former junior hockey coach Graham James and Kennedy. Kennedy founded the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in the wake of abuse at the hands of James.

Sports must have a safe sport policy, and a designated individual to handle complaints, in place to receive government funding.

But critics complain policies aren’t adequately applied.

There are two policy directions being proposed, according to Gretchen Kerr, a kinesiology and physical education professor at the University of Toronto. Canada’s national sports organizations (NSOs) have proposed developing a sport-by-sport system of self-regulation, with more consistent enforcement by Sport Canada. And a coalition of multi-sport organizations, researchers and retired athletes have proposed establishing a single, independent, arm’s length system of education, investigation and compliance.

“The undersigned strongly urge you to endorse the second approach and put in place the steps to realize it,” the letter to Duncan said.

“It’s become quite divisive … there are clearly two distinct points of view on how to move this whole agenda forward,” said Kerr, one of the signees. “A complainant has the option to take it to the NSO, the PSO (provincial sport organization) or an independent body, but it all flows through the NSO. And so the NSO is still playing a triage role, determining whether a complaint is major or minor, and whether it should be handled in-house, or should be handled independently.

“The other problem is the conflict of interest that currently exists, if the complaint goes to the NSO and it involves an Olympic coach or whatever, there are real implications for the NSO and even the staff, if that’s brought forward because the funding for NSOs depends on the team’s performance.”

Canada has had its share of high-profile sex abuse cases in sport. Marcel Aubut resigned as Canadian Olympic Committee president in 2015 after an investigation over numerous sexual harassment complaints.

In June, several former members of Canada’s ski team spoke publicly about the abuse suffered at the hands of former coach Bertrand Charest in the 1990s. Charest was convicted last year of 37 offences of sexual assault and exploitation.

Last month, the sexual assault trial of former Canadian women’s gymnastics coach Dave Brubaker wrapped up in Sarnia, Ont. Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation, and Justice Deborah Austin is expected to deliver her decision on Feb. 13.

Olympic champion Erica Wiebe was among a group of Canadian wrestlers who wrote an open letter to Duncan last month appealing for a third-party body to handle complaints.

“Sport-by-sport self-regulation means that there will be as many different approaches to gender-based violence as there are sports bodies, a situation that is inconsistent with the principles of uniform treatment and the values of Canadian sport,” Friday’s letter said. “There is clear evidence of the failure of self-regulation. A 2016 study of 40 NSOs showed that after 22 years of Sport Canada’s requirement to have a publicly accessible policy, many of the NSOs had limited policies, often hidden on their website, or no policy at all.”

The coalition argued that sport in Canada is the only remaining child-populated domain that is self-regulating and autonomous, leaving young people vulnerable to harassment and abuse. They stressed that no country has ever developed an effective policy for sport organizations to self-regulate harassment and abuse.

The coalition is proposing a universal policy that has the capacity to investigate all allegations and provide counselling to those affected; mandatory application to all federally-funded sports; focus on education and prevention; and eliminating financial barriers to complainants and sports by providing appropriate funding and fee structures.

coach, abuse, coach abuse, sport, coaching, sports, parenting

French roller-skating coach given 13 years in jail for sexual abuse

December 19th, 2018 Respect in Sport

PONTOISE: France’s former national artistic roller-skating coach has been sentenced to 13 years in prison after being found guilty of sexual assault and rape of a minor, the prosecutor’s office in Pontoise outside Paris said Monday.

After having denied everything since 2011, Arnaud Mercier, 42, admitted to the court that he had sexually assaulted teenage girls but denied rape.

The prosecution called last week for a 20-year jail term.

The case centred around his actions towards two young skaters dating back to 2011 when one of the skaters first reported that she had been abused by her trainer since the age of eight.

He was suspended from his duties first for six months and then definitively.

In 2015, a second skater who had initially defended Mercier, made a complaint detailing daily rapes from the age of 13, punishments for not complying with certain sexual acts, and meetings with other men arranged by the trainer.

Two other athletes came forward to testify, one of them alleging he had raped her for two years when she was between the ages of 16 and 18.–AFP

korea, south korea, abuse, coach, athlete, sport abuse

Tearful South Korean Olympic champion tells court of coach abuse

December 19th, 2018 Respect in Sport

Source: ChannelNews Asia, December 18, 2018

 

EOUL: Double Olympic gold medallist Shim Suk-hee broke down in tears as she told a South Korean court of the years of abuse she suffered at the hands of her coach.

Aged 21, the short-track skater has four Olympic medals to her name, including relay golds at both Sochi 2014 and on home ice at this year’s Pyeongchang Games.

But she told a court that her coach Cho Jae-beom had been beating her since she was seven – on one occasion breaking her fingers – leaving her “deeply traumatised”.

His violence “kept escalating” as she grew older, she said at the hearing in Suwon, south of Seoul.

“He frequently beat me and verbally abused me since I was seven … at one point beating me with an ice hockey stick and breaking my fingers,” she said.

Another time he hurled metal nuts at her, ripping open her forehead.

Just weeks ahead of the Pyeongchang Olympics, “he kicked and punched me so hard, especially on my head, that I even thought ‘I could die here’,” she said, breaking down.

South Korea is a regional sporting power and is regularly in the top 10 medal table places at the summer and winter Olympics. It is the only Asian country other than Japan to have hosted both Games.

But in an already intensely competitive society, winning is everything in its sports community – where coaches hold immense sway over athletes’ careers, and physical and verbal abuse are known to be rife. Those who speak out are liable to be sidelined and castigated as “traitors”.

Cho admitted to police that he beat Shim and three other athletes at their training camp to “improve their performance” and was given 10 months in prison for assault at his trial in October.

But he appealed against the sentence.

Shim said she had been “brainwashed” by Cho who threatened to end her sporting career if she spoke out, saying she had been “gripped by extreme fear and anxiety” about Cho all her life.

“I’m getting psychological treatment for depression, anxiety, sleep disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said.

The pre-Pyeongchang beating left her concussed and she blamed it for affecting her performance at the Games, where she failed to match her medal haul from Sochi, which included silver in the 1500m and bronze in the 1000m.

She did not testify at Cho’s original trial for fear of “having to confront him”, she told the hearing on Monday (Dec 17), “but I mustered up courage because I thought I needed to speak the truth”.

The South Korean women’s curling team – another star of this year’s Winter Games, whose unexpected run to the final and a silver medal earned them global headlines – have accused their coaches of verbal abuse and exploitation.

The team – nicknamed “Garlic Girls” after the local specialty of their rural hometown – said the managers had banned them from talking to other athletes, did not share how donations and prize money were being spent and censored all gifts and letters from fans.

Source: AFP/ga
Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/sport/south-korean-olympic-champion-shim-suk-hee-coach-abuse-11042174

respect group, abuse training, sport abuse, coaching, coach training, parent, sheldon kennedy

Experts believe emotional abuse is a major issue in Canadian sports

November 8th, 2018 Respect in Sport

TORONTO — Imagine a teacher telling a child: you’re fat. You’re a piece of crap. You’re a waste of my time.

That kind of behaviour would never fly in the classroom, so sports scholar Gretchen Kerr wonders why it’s prevalent on the playing field and in the gym.

While sexual abuse is in the spotlight, thanks to numerous high-profile cases, Kerr said Canadian sport also needs to take a hard look at the potential damage inflicted by psychological abuse.

“There’s a general societal awareness that when young people experience sexual harm, they suffer in one way or another for a long, long time,” Kerr said. “And what the research shows, and I don’t think it’s as poignant in the minds of the general public, is that same can be said about psychological abuse, that when young people experience psychologically abusive relationships, the negative long-term consequences can be just as enduring and just as damaging.”

Kerr and fellow University of Toronto professor Bruce Kidd spoke to Canadian sport leaders at a recent conference in Ottawa, and used several real-life examples from young athletes. There was the swim coach who hurled kickboards at kids. There was the coach who angrily chucked equipment around the locker-room. Or the coach who refused to speak to his team for a week after a loss.

One young athlete said that after a bad game, the team was required to show up at the field at 6 a.m. the next morning. The coach called it the “Breakfast Club.” The players were forced to do sprints and push-ups until they threw up.

“It’s shocking what coaches in particular can get away with in sport that we would never allow our kids’ teachers to engage in,” Kerr said. “Parents would be called on the carpet if they demonstrated these practices, bosses would be in trouble, and yet we allow coaches to treat young people this way.”

In a study of 3,760 Canadian coaches by Kerr and fellow University of Toronto professor Ashley Stirling, 78 per cent reported witnessing emotional abuse.

This type of abuse, said Kerr, can occur in numerous forms, including derogatory comments, constant yelling, manipulation of attention and support, or the use of exercise as punishment.

Kerr has handled more than 200 complaints as an athlete welfare officer with Gymnastics Canada in the past 30 years, and estimates 95 per cent of the complaints are about psychological abuse.

“The big difference between psychological abuse and sexual abuse is psychological abuse happens in public, in training when other coaches are watching, when sport administrators are watching, and often when parents are watching their kids,” Kerr said.

“It dawned on me: how can the parents sit by and watch these behaviours when if the teacher did that, they’d be in to see the principal lickety-split? So we interviewed parents, and these are very well-meaning, often well-educated parents, who are introduced to the sport world and the first time they see these behaviours, they are taken aback, but they look around for cues from parents who’ve been in the world a little bit longer, and they see that they’re not reacting. They also see the best kids at the club being treated this way. So they think ‘Well, I guess this is just what it takes to create a top athlete.”‘

Kerr said what’s perplexing is that kind of behaviour and attitude runs contrary to research on how people are best motivated.

“These practices in sport all run contrary. There’s a huge gap between the research on teaching and learning, and what actually happens in the sport arena.”

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