A look at a taboo area

In Germany, sexual abuse in sports is to be systematically dealt with. Commission to address sexual abuse calls on children, youth and adults to report abuse offenses in sports.

This area is particularly taboo, writes the commission in its letter published this Monday in Berlin. He said there was a lack of knowledge about what conditions and structures had enabled and encouraged abuses there in the past.

Independent reappraisal necessary

The commission was convened by the German government's commissioner for abuse, Johannes-Wilhelm Rorig. It should expose structures that make abuse possible. The chairwoman of the commission, Sabine Andresen, emphasized that the reports of those affected who have come forward from this area so far have shown that an independent reappraisal is necessary there.

He said the commission enables victims who have suffered sexualized violence in recreational, amateur or competitive sports to speak in a confidential setting.

On Sunday evening, Andresen had explained on Deutschlandfunk that the sexual abuse in the environment of the sport could have similar dimensions as in the church: "I think we must ame a large dimension and we must therefore also look at the system. The reference to the fact that it is always only a matter of individual cases is an attempt to fade out, and I call that irresponsible behavior."

Research results

Andresen explained the reason for the appeal: "Sport offers many opportunities for sexual assaults, especially through physical proximity, for example when providing assistance, which makes it possible for perpetrators to use their strategies. There are research results, he said, that indicate "that about one in three female athletes, one in three male athletes, has had experience with sexual violence.".

In the past three years, the commission has already produced 1.700 reports received from those affected. The opportunity to talk to people who believe them is quite central for those affected, Andresen described her impressions from hearings. So far, the commission has investigated sexual abuse in the family environment, in the church and in the GDR.

The president of the catholic DJK sport federation, Elsbeth Beha, explained to it, her federation is important the prevention with all involved ones. There is a guideline for prevention and for dealing with suspected cases, he said. In addition, the association has appointed a representative for sexualized violence.

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Christina Cherry
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