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Gender-based violence occurs in every aspect of society, including the spotlighted and admired realm of college and professional athletics. In fact, it seems that gender-based violence is especially pervasive within some sports. One of those sports is football which this brief will explore at both the college and professional level. This brief will convey why young athletes, specifically football athletes, need to be educated and trained on issues relating to sexual and domestic violence in order to combat the larger trends of violence among college and professional football players.
How Student-Athletes are Different From the General Student Population in Terms of Gender-Based Violence
Though the sport that an athlete plays does not define who they are, nor does it ensure that they will act in a certain way, the environment of college athletics strongly impacts individual athletes and influences decisions that they make on and off the field/court. In some instances, this influence can be negative and warps the perception that athletes have toward real-life situations. For example, if an athlete is particularly good at their sport they may receive media attention or special treatment from people in their life which could lead them to develop a sense of “athletic entitlement” -- a belief that they can have anything they want in life (Mordecai, 2017, p. 38). Environmental effects such as this help to explain why student-athletes in college are much more likely to be accused of sexual misconduct. To begin this discussion it is important to highlight how student-athlete beliefs surrounding gender-based violence issues differ from a non student-athlete. Below are some findings that highlight this phenomenon:
Student-athletes report holding more traditional gender roles than nonathletes (Young, 2017, p. 803).
Student-athletes have larger rape myth acceptance scores, aka they are more likely to believe common rape myths (Young, 2017, p. 803).
Student-athletes are more likely to endorse beliefs that are reflective of rape supportive culture than nonathletes (Cantor, 2020, p. 4).
In the end, these beliefs help to explain why student-athletes are 77% more likely to engage in sexual coercion than non athletes (Young, 2017, p. 804).
To read more of Taylor's reseach brief click here
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