Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature and can occur separately or be a part of abuse. Romantic and/or sexual relationships between coaches and athletes are regarded as an abuse of professional ethics, status and power. Sexual harassment in sport deters girls and women from participating and developing as athletes.
ACYSD acknowledges that sexual harassment occurs in athletics and seeks to prevent its occurrence through the development of a policy and position statement. Our firm position on sexual harassment and sexual relationships between coaches and athletes:
- Sexual harassment and sexual relationships between coaches and athletes subvert the mission of sports organizations and educational institutions to provide leadership and resources for the purpose of improving the physical, mental and emotional well-being of all females through sport and fitness participation.
- Sexual harassment lowers the self-esteem and limits the ability of women and girls to develop their full potential in sports and fitness activities. It impairs the future capacity of its victims to experience full athletic participation and to pursue employment and leadership roles in athletics. This, in turn, deprives the society as a whole of the contributions of these women and damages a genuine appreciation of women’s athletic achievements and contributions.
- Consensual and/or sexual relationships between coaches and athletes undermine the professionalism of coaches, taint the atmosphere of mutual trust and respect between coach and athlete, and hinder the fulfilment of the overall educational mission of athletics. ACYSD views it as unethical if coaches engage in consensual and/or sexual relations with athletes under their supervision, even if both parties have apparently consented to the relationship.
ACYSD recognizes that sexual harassment occurs in sport as it does in other institutional contexts, such as government, religious organizations or the workplace. In order to effectively deal with cases of sexual harassment in athletics, as well as to prevent future abuse of women athletes by coaches, we formulated policy guidelines and procedures that include periodic training and distribution of the policy, subsequent evaluation of its effectiveness and effective responses to sexual harassment in a timely manner.