U.S. Gold Medalist in Judo was Sexually Abused

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
U.S. Gold Medalist in Judo was Sexually Abused
3
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 12:13am

I am so amazed by the judo gold medal winner, American Kayla Harrison, who publicly talked about being sexually abused by a judo coach as a child. I believe Kayla is 22 years old. Her former coach is in prison. I am amazed that she could publicly, to a newsperson, talk about this. Amazing young woman.

I think that in her case, her mother believed her. Her mother made sure the guy went to prison. She didn't sweep the issue under the rug and pretend her daughter was never hurt. She stood by her and also didn't let her quit judo. It would have been so easy for mom and daughter to both find reasons to give up and quit, but that didn't happen. Mom pushed her daughter to move forward and Kayla, reluctantly at first, did just that and never gave up. What a fighter.

Over the years in so many posts on this board and people I've spoken to in "real life" people have had family that never supported them when they told them they'd been sexually abused. Often times it's a family member, which causes conflict in the family as people feel they have to take sides (hard to believe anyone would take the side of an abuser over a child or adult who was abused as a child, but it happens a lot) and they too often choose to stay out of it, which gives the victim no support. In this case it was not a family member who abused Kayla so perhaps that made it "easier" (as if it's ever easy--it's not with SA) for mom to take steps to have this man put away.

Why don't family members do the same things to support SA victims? We were still children hurt by an adult. Isn't that enough for our families to support us and take action against our abuser? Sadly, that seems to rarely happen.

As for Kayla and her mother, they're both gold winners to me and that has nothing to do with judo.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-400_162-57485843/u.s-judo-gold-medal-winner-kayla-harrison-wore-her-lucky-socks/

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2008
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 9:16am

Thanks for sharing that information with us.

I'm not sure why families end up divided in situations like this but I would guess it has to do with not wanting to believe it could be true.  Especially if the person who was told thinks they know the alleged offender and believes they could never do something like that.  The devastation of the reality is probably very hard to handle so they  go into denial and think the victim is making things up or exaggerating so they dont' have to deal with a truth that could totally mess them up.   Granted the damage is done to the victim on many levels at that point.   

 

 

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2012
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 12:29pm
Kudos to her mom for believing her daughter, fighting to see the abuser punished and refusing to let her daughter remain a victim. Support is crucial and, sadly, as you pointed out, it can be rare. I think that's perhaps one of the reasons Kayla chose to publically share her story.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 6:30pm

It's funny how easily people can believe they know the good about someone, but when someone comes forward with a story of abuse they can't possibly believe the bad. Because someone is well-dressed or maybe well-educated people think the person could not possibly hurt children. It's disgusting. In the town I live in a high school student came forward this spring and told her parents that a teacher had sexually assaulted her. The teacher resigned before he could be fired, but claims he never did anything, although he admitted it once and later denied it. Most of the town--especially the adults--have turned against this girl. I've overheard many adults talking this summer and they all have reasons why it couldn't have been true. And yet this teacher has had rumors about him going around for years about messing around with high school girls. I feel so sorry for this young lady. I heard she might switch schools because of how negative everyone is treating her. I hope not. I hope she holds her head high and returns this fall. Thank goodness, another case of where her parents are behind her. That makes so much difference.