Skip to main content

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse in Sport

  • Chapter

Abstract

‘Monsters don’t get near to children — nice men do’. This quotation conies from a television interview in 1993 with Ray Wyre, Director of the Gracewell Clinic for the rehabilitation of sex offenders. It sums up neatly the myth surrounding sexual harassment and abuse, that such behaviours are the result of stranger danger when, in reality, just the opposite is the case. It also reminds us that myths or expectations can mislead or distract us and that research about what we think we know is just as important as research about what we think we don’t know. This chapter draws on my own experiences of carrying out preliminary research into sexual harassment and abuse by sports coaches: in particular, it explores the methodological and ethical difficulties faced when researching such sensitive and emotive topics. My intention is to challenge some of the traditional approaches to research and to demonstrate that there is a rich vein of material to be tapped by those who are brave enough to ‘enter the field’ in this way (Whyte 1984). Most importantly, the chapter argues that, as feminists, we should be willing to work in difficult areas of research, to ask difficult questions and to voice unpopular messages if we wish to make a positive contribution to the betterment of women’s experiences of sport and physical activity. Throughout this chapter, following the advice of Kirby and McKenna (1989), I refer to those who assisted in interviews as participants and not as subjects or interviewees since I have tried to recognise the shared process of the research.

Keywords

  • Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Child Sexual Abuse
  • Female Athlete
  • Child Protection

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-349-25317-3_9
  • Chapter length: 16 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-1-349-25317-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   129.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  • Allison, M. (1991) ‘Role Conflict and the Female Athlete: Preoccupations with Little Grounding’, International Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 3, pp. 49–60.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Arber, S. (1993) ‘Designing Samples’ in Gilbert, N. (Ed.) Researching Social Life, London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brackenridge, C. (1985) ‘The Place of Psychological Consultancy in Women’s Team Games: Help or Hindrance?’ in Graydon, J. (Ed.) Women, Psychology, Sport, Proceedings of a one day conference of the British Society of Sport Psychology, Polytechnic of North London, BSSP.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brackenridge, C. (1987) ‘Ethical Concerns in Women’s Sport’, Coaching Focus, 6, Summer, Leeds: National Coaching Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brackenridge, C. (1990) ‘Cross Gender Relationships: Myth, Drama or Crisis’, Coaching Focus, 16, Spring, Leeds: National Coaching Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brackenridge, C. (1994) ‘Fair Play or Fair Game: Child Sexual Abuse in Sport Organisations’, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 3, pp. 287–299.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • British Psychological Society (1978) Ethical Principles for Research with Human Subjects, BPS Annual General Meeting: York.

    Google Scholar 

  • British Sociological Association (1984) ‘Statement of Ethical Practice’, Network, 43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burton Nelson, M. (1994) The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football, New York: Harcourt Brace.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clarke, G. and Gilroy, S. (1992) ‘This Bloody Business: Menstrual Myths and Periodic Leisure’ in Brackenridge, C. (Ed.) Body Matters: Leisure Images and Lifestyles, Eastbourne: LSA No. 47.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crosset, T (1986) ‘Male-coach/female-athlete relationships’. Paper presented to a conference of the Norwegian Confederation of Sport on ‘Coaching the Top Level Athlete’, Sole, Norway, 15–16 November.

    Google Scholar 

  • Douglas, M. (1970) Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, London: Penguin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Evans, J. (Ed.) (1993) Equality, Education and Physical Education, London: Falmer Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Faludi, S. (1991) Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, New York: Anchor.

    Google Scholar 

  • Finkelhor, D. (1994) ‘The “Backlash” and the Future of Child Protection Advocacy: Insights from the Study of Social Issues’ in Myers, J. E. B. (Ed.) The Backlash: Child Protection Under Fire, London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, D. (1994) ‘Adult Sex Offenders: Who Are They? Why and How do They Do it?’ in Morrison, T. Erooga, M. and Beckett, R. C. (Eds) Sexual Offending Against Children: Assessment and Treatment of Male Abusers, London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Glaser, B. G. and Strauss, A. L. (1967) The Discovery of Grounded Theory, New York: Aldine.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hearn, J. and Morgan, D. (Eds) (1990) Men, Masculinities and Social Theory, London: Unwin and Hyman.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kirby, S. and McKenna, K. (1989) Experience, Research, Social Change: Methods from the Margin, Toronto: Garamond.

    Google Scholar 

  • Klein, A. (1990) ‘Little Big Man: Hustling, Gender Narcissism, and Body Building Subculture’ in Messner, M. and Sabo, D. (Eds) Sport, Men and the Gender Order, Champaign, IL. Human Kinetics.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lee, R. L. (1993) Doing Research on Sensitive Topics, London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lenskyj, H. (1992) ‘Sexual Harassment: Female Athletes’ Experiences and Coaches’ Responsibilities’, Sport Science Periodical on Research and Technology in Sport, Coaching Association of Canada, 12, 6, Special Topics B-1.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lenskyj, H. (1994) Women, Sport and Physical Activity: Selected Research Themes, Ontario: Sport Canada.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lovenduski, J. and Randall, V. (1993) Contemporary Feminist Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • McFee, G. (1992) ‘Triangulation in Research: Two Confusions’ Educational Research, 34, pp. 215–219.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Messner, M. and Sabo, D. (Eds) (1990) Sport, Men and the Gender Order, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mewshaw, M. (1993) Ladies of the Court: Grace and Disgrace on the Women’s Tennis Tour, London: Warner Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miles, M. B. and Huberman A. M. (1994 [2nd edition]) Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook, London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Morrison, T., Erooga, M. and Beckett, R. C. (Eds) (1994) Sexual Offending Against Children: Assessment and Treatment of Male Abusers, London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Myers, J. E. B. (Ed.) (1994) The Backlash: Child Protection Under Fire, London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oakley, A. (1981) ‘Interviewing Women: A Contradiction in Terms’ in Roberts, H. (Ed.) Doing Feminist Research, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shilling, C. (1993) ‘The Body, Class and Social Inequalities’ in Evans, J. (Ed.) Equality, Education and Physical Education, London: Falmer Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Social Research Association (undated) Ethical Guidelines [kindly provided by Hazel Wearmouth, Leeds Metropolitan University, 1994].

    Google Scholar 

  • West, A. and Brackenridge, C. (1990) Wot! No Women Coaches? A Report Relating to the Lives of Women as Sports Coaches in the UK 1989/90, Sheffield: PAVIC Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Whyte, W. F. (1984) Learning from the Field: A Guide from Experience, London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 1997 Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Brackenridge, C. (1997). Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse in Sport. In: Clarke, G., Humberstone, B. (eds) Researching Women and Sport. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-25317-3_9

Download citation