Student-on-student sexual assault that occurs in connection with boys’ sports often is mischaracterized as hazing and bullying, an Associated Press investigation has found.
The report says that the violence is so normalized on some teams that it persists for years, as players attacked one season become aggressors the next. Coaches frequently say they’re not aware of what’s happening, but AP found multiple cases where coaches knew and failed to intervene or tried to cover it up.
The AP examined sexual violence in school sports as part of its larger look at student-on-student sex assaults.
Teammate-on-teammate sexual assaults occurred in all types of sports in public schools, and experts say the more than 70 cases in five years that ap youtube identified were the tip of the iceberg. Though largely a high school phenomenon, some cases were reported as early as middle school.
Boys made up the majority of aggressors and victims in teammate attacks, records show, and some suffered serious injury and trauma.
An Idaho football player was hospitalized in 2015 with rectal injuries after he was sodomized with a coat hanger. That same year, a North Carolina teen suffered rectal bruising when he was jabbed through his clothes with a broomstick. Parents of a Vermont athlete blamed his 2012 suicide on distress a year after teammates sodomized him with a broom.
“It’s basically rape and sexual assault,” says Hank Nuwer, a hazing historian at Franklin College in Indiana. “It’s amazing to me that there hasn’t been a public outcry on this to help stop it.”