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Sports Culture and Sexual Assault

Sports Culture and Sexual Assault

Posted - Aug. 20, 2004 at 9:47 p.m.



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Jed Boal ReportingKobe Bryant is accused of rape in Colorado. Scandal rocked the University of Colorado football team when a former female player accused teammates of rape. Do these and the BYU case simply grab the headlines, or is there something in the sports culture that enables the sexual violence to grow unchecked?

Marty Liccardo, Utah Coalition Against Sexual Violence: “Coaches, athletes, departments need to start figuring out, is this more of a problem in this arena?"

Marty Liccardo tackles sexual assault issues with athletic programs across the state. A coach once told him allegations of sexual assault outnumber all other problems. Heather Stringfellow is a former police officer who investigated sex crimes for 12 years. Both think there should be more open talk among young athletes about sexual consent and how alcohol and drugs can cloud these situations.

Liccardo says sexist behavior from demeaning jokes to objectification of women can escalate.

Marty Liccardo: “Are we looking at these precursors to sexual violence to stop them before a rape happens or a sexual assault happens? I wish we didn't have to start from there."

The sexual assault prevention experts say it's important to foster a new attitude among all men that sexually violent behavior is not okay in any arena.

Heather Stringfellow, Rape Recovery Center: “That's what's going to end sexual assault -- people who stand up and say this isn't okay, I won't listen to your sexist joke, I won't listen to you harass other people, I won't watch you sexually assault someone else."

Both of our experts praised the police and university officials for their actions so far in the BYU football player case. They believe they are sending the message that sexual assault will not be tolerated.

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