By the time college athletes arrive on campus, most have been personally exposed to violence against women - through a teammate, friend or family member. And most are not equipped to understand its full impact, process it or prevent it. The campus environment combined with the culture of big time college athletics can be a devastating mix, especially given that 1 in 5 women on campus will have been raped or have it attempted.
Educating athletes about gender and relationship violence is paramount to the success of a competitive team. Using a victim empathy technique, athletes engage in active, open and guided dialogue about sexual and domestic violence, the trivialization and ramifications of aggressive behavior and its impact on victims, teammates and the program as a whole.
Facilitated by a nationally recognized athlete violence expert and survivor of rape by an athlete, this experiential approach encourages honest, nonjudgmental and blunt inquiry from athletes in order to help them personalize themselves with the "other side" of aggressive behaviors. It helps them to analyze and identify problematic situations and intervene.
Athletes maintain a significant social status and visibility in their communities. Equipping them to be community leaders on this subject will enable them to be positive change agents for an issue that affects their peers, their friends, and in many cases, their families. The decisions they make today will affect their future - during and after their athletic careers have ended.
The National Coalition Against Violent Athletes is dedicated to a concept of sports as an activity that promotes positive life skills in athletes so that they develop into respectful, productive role models. Our program, INTERCEPT, involves administrators, coaches, community leaders and behavioral professionals in a comprehensive effort to end violence by athletes and empower them to address violence against women in society. The program's mission to promote proactive strategies to challenge behaviors and foster personal accountability to cultivate leadership. Intercept is a powerful agent in combating athlete violence while producing moral exemplars of society.
The NCAA and numerous other sports bodies have been concerned that sports is being sacrificed by a "win at all costs" atmosphere. This program will correct this harmful atmosphere at the grass roots level. Researchers have concluded that violence, mainly sexual assault and domestic violence, is not "simply the result of an individual's psychological disposition or biological makeup, but rather, it is a behavior which is socially encouraged."
Working as a team, athletes will engage in guided preventive discussions surrounding:
- Victim Empathy
- Current Issues Analysis
- Identification of Precarious Situations
- Cultural Indicators
- Sports Environment
- Masculine Ideals and Attitudes
- Media Messages
- Becoming a change agent/leadership
Athletes should be admired. Their training, dedication and discipline are worthy of their leadership status. Equip them to become leaders worthy of the responsibility.
"The message is strong and carries with it an unwavering validity that is necessary for the topic. Difficult subject matter was communicated easily and challenged the messages our athletes receive on a daily basis. The program has made a huge difference in many of the lives of our student-athletes and coaches."
UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE
"The message greatly impacted our players and made it clear to the Royals staff that this presentation is vital to our team. Our players are an investment into the Royals organization and ensuring that they stay out of trouble and treat women with respect minimizes any risk to that investment. The message they received helps us feel confident in our players' ability to think when risky situations arise and to do the right thing."
Kansas City Royals
"Intercept's combination of factual information, recognition and warning signs of relationship violence along with personal insight made it impactful to our athletes. Long term consequences, emotional issues and challenges to the status quo relating to violence against women was discussed in a way that was very interactive and engaging with the male audience."