Rape Culture and Sports Teams

I’m not going to do a lot of extensive research for this post. I just want to suggest a couple of ideas about the topic of rape culture and sports teams.

I think that male sports teams are particularly focused pockets of rape culture.

[Insert research here: list all of the most horrifying national news stories over the last three or four years and point out how many of them were associated with sports teams or participants of sports teams, and then research general statistics on rape.]

BUT, I’m not saying this to single out male sports teams as a scapegoat.

INSTEAD, I’m asking us to consider using them as leverage to change this culture.

Male sports teams, starting at the junior high school level at least, are where boys need most to learn respect for women, at least outside of the home.

I think coaches need to be held responsible for student misconduct: three strikes (instances of player misconduct) and you’re (the coach) out.

This policy would carry with it the danger of increased suppression of reporting, but it could be effective.

And I think this issue needs to be tied to Title IX funding at the college and university levels: funding eligibility should be linked to training and the requirement of the development of an ethos of respect for women among all male sports teams.

Are more details needed? Of course.

I’m not here to develop a full fledged policy, just to state an idea.

Published by James Rovira

Dr. James Rovira is higher education professional with twenty years experience in the field in teaching, administration, and advising roles. He is also an interdisciplinary scholar and writer whose works include fiction, poetry, and scholarship exploring the intersections of literature and philosophy, literature and psychology, literary theory, and music and literature.. His books include Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism (Routledge, 2023); David Bowie and Romanticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022); Writing for College and Beyond (a first-year composition textbook (Lulu 2019)); Reading as Democracy in Crisis: Interpretation, Theory, History (Lexington Books 2019); Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2 (Lexington Books, 2018); Rock and Romanticism: Post-Punk, Goth, and Metal as Dark Romanticisms (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); and Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2010). See his website at jamesrovira.com for details.

4 thoughts on “Rape Culture and Sports Teams

  1. I agree with you one hundred percent, but feel that it is not just a question of sports. The music business here in Germany, for example, is full of such examples. Musicians, and especially teachers, who are better than male counterparts, are groped in public, or secretly blacklisted for having (non-existent) affairs with students. And in society as a whole here, there are numerous examples of women being attacked on the streets as part of a terrorist-led shame campaign, or as a way of pulling down egos of the males they are associated with. Most especially the police, whose wives and family were fair game for a while. The reports from Cologne at New Years made the international papers. Other reports are being suppressed, most notoriously, by police, to avoid riots and terrorism. By suppressing these reports, we are playing into the hands of terrorists. I personally think that non-violent forms of self defense should be taught in all schools. (the unversity where I trained had an olympic judo trainer on staff and it was suggested that all musicians take part) We also need deep and direct reporting and clear lines for punishment. And, of course, a very much stronger system of education, or re-education, of the public. We have continuous reports on human trafficking, which seems to be helping. Why not on the rape culture. Because it could hit in anyone’s home and is therefor an uncomfortable idea?


    1. Oh, I completely agree that it’s not just a matter of sports. I didn’t really mean to imply otherwise. That’s one of the reasons why said I didn’t mean to scapegoat sports for the problem.

      However, I think sports in the US at least can be used strategically in this way. 13 to 17-year-old musicians in the US, for the most part, are still relatively benign or are not in large enough numbers together to really form a culture. Sports, however, are widespread, pervasive, and create aggressive environments. They also create environments of entitlement.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: