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By on December 10, 2009

Sports and sexual abuse of boys

Many of the most celebrated sexual violence and dating violence prevention efforts to engage men employ sports. Joe Ehrmann of Coach for America says that sports is today’s secular religion. Coaching Boys into Men has tools for coaches to teach about prevention. Mentors in Violence Prevention uses athletes as its trainers; Byron Hurt starts his story in Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes as a college quarterback.

Each of these prevention efforts leverages the credibility of coaches and athletes to advance its prevention message. In a new article in the journal Men and Masculinity, the author argues “that the everyday practice and discourse of male sports (its cultural norms) provide an environment conducive to the sexual abuse of male children.”

The sports culture is another form of the social environment that comprehensive efforts should address.

The full citation and link to the article follow the jump.

The Sexual Abuse of Boys in Organized Male Sports.

Hartill M. Men and Masculinity, 2009; 12(2): 225-249.

Click here for an link to the full abstract of the article.

(Copyright © 2009, Sage Publications)

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is now a significant issue for organized sports. Since its “discovery” thirty years ago, research on CSA has been guided mostly by the “male perpetrator—female victim” paradigm; hence, the perspective of the sexually abused male in the sports context has rarely been considered. This article considers organized male-sports as a social space that facilitates the sexual abuse of boys. Through promoting a sociological perspective on child abuse rather than an individualized and pathologized approach, I consider how the institutions of childhood, masculinity, and sports fit together and the contribution that sports make to the adult—child relation. I use Spiegel’s ecosystems model of the sexually abused male (SAM) and the sociology of sports literature to identify how some normative features of male sports contribute to the sexual abuse of male children.

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