Shreds of Memory: A First-Person Narrative of Sexual Acquaintance-Exploitation in a Youth Sport Experience
Authors: Lars Dzikus
Abstract: Studies on childhood sexual abuse often represent perpetrators and survivors as faceless “them” with brief excerpts from interviews, removed from the person who lived the experience. This study provides an in-depth, first-person narrative from a survivor of sexual exploitation in sport. Inspired by autoethnography, the narrative draws on personal memories to illustrate the profile of the groomer/seducer and his target. The text discusses the processes of gaining access, grooming, seducing, resisting, doubting, and distancing, as well as long-term effects. The paper is aimed to help raise awareness about the significance of sexual exploitation in youth sport for sport psychology professionals. Whereas previous research has mostly provided “snippet” accounts across cases, this narrative allows the reader to follow the development of an abusive coach-athlete relationship from beginning to end. The author calls practitioners to action and for further research to examine how the culture of sport contributes to sexual exploitation.