UltraViolet Online Petition: ‘Stop Sexual Abuse in Olympic Swimming’

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The gender equality group UltraViolet is distributing an online petition for delivery to USA Swimming executives and board members. The message is: “”Sexual relationships between coaches and their athletes are an abuse of power. USA Swimming must hire an independent investigator to hold current and former abusers accountable and end the culture that allows predatory coaches to exploit young athletes.” See http://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/swimming?referring_akid=.632773.5fQohD&source=twitter.

Here’s the full background text:

“There’s an epidemic of sexual abuse in competitive swimming. Dozens of coaches have been banned from the sport over sexual misconduct–but that number only scratches the surface. Swimmers and coaches are been speaking out to demand a stop to the rampant abuse and hold coaches accountable, and they need our help.

“For Olympic governing bodies like USA Swimming, public image is everything–and recent media coverage has put a big spotlight on this problem. If we can increase public outrage, we can convince them that the best way to show they take abuse seriously is to hold an independent investigation–like the one appointed during the Jerry Sandusky scandal. And independent investigator could hold abusers accountable, kick them out of the sport for good, and begin to end the culture in swimming that allowed this to happen in the first place. Can you sign the petition?”

I disagree only with where the petition is being sent. USA Swimming has shown that it has about as much use for an “independent investigation” as an Olympian needs strapless goggles. Where the independent investigation needs to take place is at the United States Congress, the midwife of our national sports governing bodies via the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. Congressman George Miller, a California Democrat, has already stuck his toe in the water by asking for swimming to be included in the Government Accountability Office’s research on sex crime reporting requirements. Now Miller and others — notably the 20 women of both parties in the Senate — need to mount the starting blocks.


Irv Muchnick

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