I might not remember what it felt like learning that I had passed my black belt test, but I do remember the first time my instructor asked me whether I had the ‘hots’ for another student.
I told him I didn’t want to discuss it. So he put me in a headlock so that I couldn’t breathe and told me that good Tae Kwon Do students always do what “teacher” says. When he released me, I said, “Yes, sir.”
I was twelve years old.
I was a good student.
My story is rarely told but depressingly common. Studies of female athletes indicate appallingly high rates of bullying, sexual harassment, and physical, sexual, and psychological abuse at the hands of (usually male) coaches. The problem starts in local pick-up leagues and reaches its grimy hands into elite international competition. Some studies even suggest that the higher one climbs in the sports world, the worse the problems get.