Gymnastics Sexual Abuse

Gymnastics Sexual Abuse

In the past few years, gymnastics sexual abuse has begun to gain more visibility. As a result of the horrific actions of USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who pled guilty in 2018 to seven counts of criminal sexual abuse involving minors, the world became aware of gymnastics sexual abuse. 

There was a high level of publicity surrounding this case because of the high profile status of the victims, many of whom were Olympic athletes. However, gymnastics sexual abuse is by no means an isolated incident. The issue of sexual abuse in gymnastics and other youth sports is a pervasive one that is just starting to be recognized.

The effects of gymnastics sexual abuse last a lifetime. A sexual assault attorney can assist survivors of sexual abuse in fighting for justice. Melissa Hague is a woman warrior passionate about restoring justice for victims of sexual assault. Melanie fights tirelessly to ensure those who enabled the sexual abuse are held accountable through the civil process. 

Tell Melissa about your experience. You can schedule a free, confidential consultation with Melissa Hague to discuss taking action if you have been the victim of sexual abuse by a gymnastics coach, assistant, or doctor. 

Causes and Effects of Gymnastics Sexual Abuse

Gymnastics sexual abuse is caused by a number of factors. 

Abuse can be especially complex when a perpetrator holds power over a victim. Coaches, assistants, or sports doctors may groom, threaten, or coerce a victim. The grooming process often involves buying gifts for the athlete or giving them special treatment over other students. It is not uncommon for the person in power to convince the student they are in love with him or her. Gymnasts who report abuse might face removal from the team or other consequences. 

Almost all victims of gymnastics sexual abuse are underage. This contributes to the heinous nature of this type of sexual assault. This is also one reason why gymnastics sexual abuse often goes undetected and unreported. 

Often, young victims of sexual abuse do not realize that they are being abused. Children might fear telling their parents about the abuse when they realize what is happening. In order to keep gymnasts quiet, coaches, assistants, and sports doctors use threats or promises to encourage their silence.

During the course of a gymnastics season, gymnasts spend a lot of time with their coaches and teammates. The use of locker rooms, limited supervision before and after training, and travel for competitions create environments conducive to sexual abuse. 

Gymnastics Sexual Abuse Victims and Perpetrators

Any gymnast can become a victim of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse does not only occur at the Olympic level. It often starts at lower-level competitive gymnastics. Teams should have certain protocols in place to help prevent sexual abuse. Some of these protocols may require at least two adults present at all private lessons or a medical assistant present during medical treatment and sports massages. When these protocols are not enforced it perpetuates an environment that protects abusers. Sexual abuse can create long-lasting issues that can impact nearly every aspect of a survivor’s life. 

Perpetrators of gymnastics sexual abuse can be anyone with access to a gymnast. Possible perpetrators include: 

  • Coaches
  • Trainers
  • Doctors or medical staff
  • Physical therapists
  • Parents of teammates
  • Other gymnasts

Gymnastics sexual abuse can take a lifelong toll on a survivor’s mental, emotional, and physical health. A large part of getting justice involves gaining compensation so that a victim has ample resources and time to focus on healing the trauma. Adequate counseling and medical care have a significant impact on the long-term well-being of a sexual abuse victim.

Fighting for justice requires the aid of a dedicated sexual assault attorney. Melissa Hague is a passionate advocate for sexual abuse survivors. She believes that the civil process is an essential and empowering part of holding a perpetrator accountable after sexual abuse. 

Regain your voice. Contact sexual assault lawyer Melissa Hague to schedule a free, confidential consultation today. 

Gymnastics Sexual Abuse Prevention

Both parents and gymnastics organizations can take steps to reduce the incidence of gymnastics sexual abuse. Gymnasts should be supervised adequately by organizations with strict hiring practices and firm policies. 

In addition, protocols could prohibit private electronic communication between athletes and adults via social media, text messaging, or email; all communication should take place through channels that include athletes’ parents or guardians. 

Travel programs should always be supervised by parents or guardians at all times, and adults should never be left alone with athletes, whether they are traveling or arriving at their destination. Hotels or other accommodations should provide a common area for guests to socialize so that no interactions occur in private rooms.

Taking Action After Gymnastics Sexual Abuse 

As soon as gymnastics sexual abuse is discovered, it should be reported to the police. 

For children of all ages, it is appropriate to seek immediate advice from a professional therapist so they can determine what is in their best interests.

Gymnastics abuse can cause profound trauma. Victims are left with lifelong emotional and psychological scars and may need years of counseling to recover from the abuse. 

When police are notified of abuse, a criminal case will be filed against the perpetrator. Nevertheless, it does not provide compensation for the abuse victims suffered. This requires a civil case. A sexual assault lawyer Melissa Hague believes that justice is not fully served until both civil and criminal courts are involved in the case.

Melissa Hague Will Fight for You

Melissa Hague is a sexual assault lawyer renowned for her fearlessness and tireless advocacy. She knows that survivors of gymnastics sexual abuse face an especially challenging emotional journey. 

Taking legal action can be very stressful due to the close relationship between a gymnast and the perpetrator. Parents who have trusted an authority figure with their child’s safety may find it difficult to deal with the betrayal committed by that authority figure. 

Melissa Hague and her team are well aware of the complex dynamics that arise from gymnastics sexual abuse cases. Melissa provides empathy, understanding, and support to those who have been impacted by sexual assault.

Sexual abuse can be a deeply traumatic experience for gymnasts. One of the first steps in helping a survivor begin the healing process is gaining justice through the legal system.

You can count on us to fight for you. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with Melissa to discuss what to do after a gymnastics sexual assault.

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