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33% sportswomen suffer sexual abuse: Survey

Published : 08 Sep 2020, 21:24

Updated : 09 Sep 2020, 00:09

  DF Report

File Photo City of Helsinki by Virpi Peltola.

One-third female sports persons suffered sexual harassment in the sports sectors, found a survey conducted by the Finnish Centre for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS).

The survey report released on Tuesday also said that one in every five male sports persons experienced sexual abuse, too.

Sixteen-year-old girls who took part in sport events for adults in the national team level were the worst victims of sexual abuse.

The survey was conducted through interviewing more than 9,000 elite athletes in the national, regional, and international level.

Players of a total of 48 kinds of sport events were interviewed, where players of baseball and ice hockey numbered the most.

More than one-third harassment cases involved a fellow athlete, one-fifth of them were linked to athletes’ coaches, while less than one-fifth were linked to contact with the crowd, fans or social media followers.

Sportsperson belonging to the age group of 20-25 experienced more incidents of sexual harassment with men being responsible for 55 per cent of the harassments reported by women and 67 per cent of the harassment reported by men.

The harassments included verbal, usually in the form of sexual, hurtful jokes, inappropriate comments about an athlete's body or jokes about a sexual minority.

Four per cent of the male and one per cent of the female players who responded to the survey experienced physical sexual abuse.

A total of 14 athletes said that they experienced rape or attempted rape and 70 athletes said they had been pressured into having sex.

“It has been very significant to survey athletes directly. With experience-based responses from athletes, we can lay a strong foundation for making our sports culture even safer and more ethically sustainable. We are now getting research-based information about whether athletes have experienced or observed sexual or gender-based harassment over the last five years in sports and who might have been guilty of it,” said FINCIS Research Manager Nina Laakso.

According to the study findings, among members of minority groups, experiencing sexual harassment was most likely among men belonging to a sexual minority. Of the minority groups, women belonging to a disabled minority were most likely to experience gender-based harassment.