SPORTS & THE ARTS

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We decided to include sports and the arts under one heading, because they both often involve celebrities or powerful people who get access to a child through the child’s extracurricular activities. Whether it is the talent agent in Hollywood or the coach in the Olympic system, children have been caught in a web of abuse that is tightly tied into their passions and ambitions. It is a toxic stew that can reinforce the child’s confusion and tragically delay reporting.

Both of these arenas have been resistant to reforms that would prioritize the well-being of children. Getting an abusing coach removed from the sport has bedeviled many, including Sarah Powers Barnhard. She and two other survivors disclosed the abuse by their volleyball coach, Rick Butler, in a 1995 Sports Illustrated story. He was removed, but was permitted to return 5 years later, and he was still coaching as late as 2018 and seen outside a competition in 2020. Of course, the world watched as the victims of USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar stood up bravely in court to read their victim impact statements. Their struggle to get justice and real reforms in sport continues. There is a great deal that still needs to be done, and CHILD USA’s Game Over Commission is focusing on these issues.

Celebrities accused of child sex abuse have been able to harness their extensive social media and public relations assets to attack their victims. The victims have had to withstand horrific trolling on social media just for telling their truth, and there has been little recourse available. These brave survivors like Corey Feldman are having to mount an expensive –both financially and emotionally—public defense just to stand up for the victims in Hollywood and the industry generally. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have a long way to go before victims have justice and not just a forum to speak. I hope you will see from this list the need for ongoing advocacy and concern about the risks to our children in dangerous settings—

Marci

Books

What is a Girl Worth by Rachael Denhollander

The book focuses on Rachel Denhollander’s story of telling the public about the behavior of Larry Nassar.

Coreygraphy by Corey Feldman

The book is an autobiographical memoir about Corey Feldman’s journey to heal and discuss the abuse he has experienced.

The Penn State Report by Louis Freeh

The book is a comprehensive report about the cases related to Gerald Sandusky and his abuse of Penn State football players.

Fighting Back by Kayla Harrison

Olympic Champion Kayla Harrison discusses her story of sexual abuse by her judo coach.

Godspeed by Casey Legler

The story chronicles Olympic swimmer Casey Legler and her experience of isolation during her Olympic career and childhood.

Game Over by Bill Moushey and Bob Dvorchak

The book depicts the way that institutions and leaders at the highest level of Penn State helped protect Gerald Sandusky and hide his behavior.

The Girls by Abigail Pesta

The book gives voice to the stories of the countless girls who were abused by Dr. Larry Nassar for decades.

Fierce by Aly Raisman

The autobiography chroniciales Aly’s journey from a mommy & me gym to the Olympics including honest discussions of the difficulties along the way.

Troublemaker by Leah Remini

The book discusses Remini’s eventual split from the Church of Scientology as a result of her search for the truth.

Little Girls in Pretty Boxes by Joan Ryan

This book provides a real view of the physical and emotional toll on young girls who work to achieve Olympic dreams.

Chalked Up by Jennifer Sey

The high pressure coming of age story explains how Jennifer Sey lost sight of her physical and emotional well-being and eventually learned how to prioritize both through a journey of self acceptance.

Documentaries & Videos

  • At the Heart of Gold
    • The documentary discusses the accusations surrounding Dr. Larry Nassar and how his behavior managed to continue for years without discovery.
    • Available on Amazon Prime, HBO, and Hulu.
  • Broken Trust: Sports in the #MeToo era
    • The panel discussion focused on the way the power dynamics within sports and the duties of sport authorities to their athletes.
  • Coached in Silence (Documentary)
    • The film interviews a group of young athletes who were all failed by sports authorities and left vulnerable to abuse.
  • First Game Over Commission Hearing
    • The first commission hearing focused on sexual abuse in elite atheletes to determine how Dr. Larry Nassar was able to abuse young girls for so long.
  • Leaving Neverland
    • Leaving Neverland is a documentary that shares the stories of two young boys who claimed to be sexually abused by Pop star Michael Jackson.
  • Athlete A (upcoming Netflix Documentary)
    • The documentary follows reporters of the Indianapolis Star as they work hard to discover information about Dr. Larry Nassar’s abuse.
  • Aly Raisman victim statement
    • In her powerful remarks during Dr. Larry Nassar’s trial, Aly Raisman speaks out against the inaction of the USOC and USAG.
  • Aly Raisman on The View
    • Raisman speaks about her feelings after Nassar’s guilty verdict and her vow to continue pushing for accountability.
  • Surviving R. Kelly
    • This documentary centers on the stories of young women who were identified, groomed, and abused by Pop star R. Kelly.
    • Available on Netflix, Google Play, and YouTube
  • Silent No More film by Sarah Klein
  • The Tale
    • The film focuses on the abuse that filmmaker Jennifer Fox experienced as a child and how that abuse affected her future relationships.
    • Available on HBO, Hulu, and YouTube

Articles

 Materials relating to Game Over: Commission to Protect Youth Athletes

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