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