Male Coaches’ Sexual Harassment, Abuse, and Assault as Perceived by Female Athletes in India and Pakistan


  • Md. Dilsad Ahmed Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd University and Oregon State University
  • Bradley J. Cardinal Oregon State University
  • Salahuddin Khan Muslim Youth University
  • Babar Ali Khan Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University
  • Shaheen Begum Savitribai Phule Pune University



Coach-athlete relationship, coaching education, code of conduct, ethics, power, sexism


The #MeToo Movement has brought sexual harassment, abuse, and assault experienced by females to the forefront of society. Within the athletic realm, this falls under the umbrella term “maltreatment of athletes.” While maltreatment has been reported for decades, victims’ voices have been amplified in recent years. For various political and social reasons, the maltreatment of female athletes from around the world is not as well understood. In this study, female athletes from India and Pakistan reported their perceptions of maltreatment by male coaches. Female athletes with male coaches in both countries participated in this study (N = 395). The athletes represented a large variety of sports (> 26). Participants (Mage = 20.57 ± 2.59; Myears of athletic experience = 2.73 ± 1.49) completed the Sport-Specific Touch and Behaviour Versus Unwanted Intimacy From Coaches questionnaire. Three composite dependent variables were assessed: Unwanted Sexual Behavior, Physical and Verbal Behavior With a Sexual Undertone, and Sexist and Discriminatory Behavior. Main effect differences for the three composite variables were observed for country (p < .001, η2 = .30), with no differences observed for type of sport or the interaction effect. The Pakistani athletes reported greater acceptance of male coaches’ maltreatment than did the Indian athletes. The observed differences were large (i.e., Hedges’ g values ranging from 1.91 to 3.00). Female athletes from Pakistan were more accepting than were Indian athletes of a wide range of sexual maltreatment experiences by their male coaches. There is an urgent need to eradicate such behaviors from the sports world.

Author Biographies

Md. Dilsad Ahmed, Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd University and Oregon State University

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
College of Public Health and Human Sciences

Bradley J. Cardinal, Oregon State University

College of Public Health and Human Sciences

Salahuddin Khan, Muslim Youth University

Department of Sports Sciences & Physical Education

Babar Ali Khan, Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University

Degree College of Physical Education

Shaheen Begum, Savitribai Phule Pune University

Abeda Inamdar College