Exploring sexual hazing practices as a form of sexual violence


Sexual violence is an expansive term defined as any sexual act, comments or advances directed toward a person using coercion and aggressive, threatening, exploitive and manipulative behaviors (Kilpatrick, 2004). Reports of sexual violence have become a growing cultural focus in the recent years, with emergent attention to prevention in various contexts including the workplace (McDonald,2012), the military (Hillman, 2009), the elderly (Burgess & Morgenbesser,2005), and sport (Cense & Brackenridge, 2001; Holman,1995, Lenskyj,1992). Sport constitutes a unique environment through which sexual violence is allowed to inconspicuously fester. Sexual violence in sport is generally viewed as the abuse of power by an individual in a position of authority, such as a coach, over an athlete, with less research looking at sexual violence between athletes. In this research, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 athletes from a range of sports and sport levels. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a combination of inductive and deductive coding techniques. This presentation will highlight the existence of sexual violence between athletes, particularly in the form of hazing practices. Sexually exploitative hazing practices overlap with other forms of violence, such as physical and emotional violence (Stuart, 2013), yet they are not often considered within the definition of sexual violence. This presentation will examine how a setting of unequal power between athletes combined with the normalcy of hazing practices creates an unrestricted and potentially dangerous environment for athletes (Kirby & Wintrup, 2002).