VIOLATION OF TRUST (When young athletes are sex-abuse victims, their coaches are often the culprits)
A search of newspaper databases around the country produced more than 50 cases of community or school coaches who have been charged with or convicted of sexually abusing more than 100 of their young athletes in the last few years. Experts say that's probably jut the tip of a larger problem. Shrouded in silence and cover-up, sexual abuse of young athletes is hard to stop and hard to prove. Predators are difficult to catch.
WHAT VICTIMS ENDURE
Many young victims of sexual abuse are able to look at it as something bad that happened to them, then put it aside and go on with their lives. Others suffer long-lasting physical and psychological damage. Here are some of the effects of sexual abuse on children:
- Medical problems can range from migraines to the ravages of drug and alcohol abuse. Mental-health problem include depression, eating disorders and suicide. Some victims drop out of school. Many require counseling.
- Victims often have anxiety problems, suffer from poor self-esteem, and experience difficulty forming relationships. Some fear both intimacy and sex.
- Male victims of male coaches can suffer a crisis in sexual identity. Many wonder if they are gay since they did not fight the abuse. Where some male victims avoid relationships, others date a lot of women, act out, and adopt a high-risk lifestyle to prove something about themselves.