Fencing Athlete Sexual Abuse

USA Fencing is the National Governing Body for the sport of fencing. They aim to protect children and athletes in the sport by providing a safe environment. Sadly, numerous sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed against USA Fencing in recent years for failing to prevent sexual abuse from occurring. While USA Fencing does conduct background checks and requires SafeSport training for its members, more could’ve been done to prevent predatory coaches and staff members from having access to young athletes.

At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, we recognize the unique challenges fencing athletes face and are committed to helping them through the legal process after suffering sexual abuse. We offer a safe and private space to tell your story and explore your legal options. With our guidance, we can hold predator coaches, staff members, and USA Fencing accountable for the trauma you endured.

Understanding Sexual Abuse in Fencing

Sexual abuse in fencing encompasses a range of inappropriate behaviors, including unwelcome sexual advances, inappropriate touching, coercive practices, or any form of sexual contact that occurs without consent.

It's important to understand that sexual abuse in fencing involves an abuse of power, where coaches, trainers, or other authoritative figures exploit their positions. This abuse can manifest not only in physical acts but also through verbal harassment, sexual intimidation, and the creation of a sexually charged environment that is uncomfortable or threatening to athletes. The sexual abuse of an athlete usually starts with the grooming process.

Athletes in fencing may be particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse due to several factors. Unfortunately, the deep trust developed between athletes and their coaches or mentors, who are often seen as key figures in their personal and athletic development, can be exploited. Additionally, the culture of silence prevalent in many sports, including fencing, can create an environment where abuse goes unreported. Athletes are often encouraged to endure hardship silently, leading to underreporting of abuse. Lastly, the isolation and immense pressure experienced by athletes, especially those training at elite levels, can make them more susceptible to manipulation and abuse.

Legal Rights of Sexual Abuse Survivors

In California, as in the rest of the United States, specific laws and regulations are in place to protect athletes from sexual abuse and to hold perpetrators accountable. For instance, the Safe Sport Act mandates reporting of sexual abuse and aims to extend protection for minors in sports. In California, there are additional laws that specifically address sexual abuse, including mandatory reporting requirements for coaches and other adults in positions of authority in sports.

In the case of fencing athletes, both minors and adults can report abuse. Survivors, their parents or guardians, coaches, or anyone else who becomes aware of the abuse can report abuse directly to local law enforcement, child protective services (if the survivor is a minor), or sports governing bodies like the U.S. Fencing Association. In cases involving minors, certain individuals, including coaches and trainers, are mandated reporters and are legally required to report any suspicions or knowledge of abuse to the authorities.

How Cerri, Boskovich & Allard Can Help

If you are uncertain how to proceed after suffering from sexual abuse in fencing, call our law firm. We will offer you compassionate and confidential guidance so that you can explore your legal options. We know how to hold abusive coaches and institutions accountable, and we can do the same for you.

Part of our role is to help survivors and their families understand their legal rights and options. We demystify the legal process, breaking down complex legal terms and procedures into clear, understandable language. This empowers survivors of fencing sexual abuse to make informed decisions about their case.

We recognize that taking this step requires immense bravery. Please know that you are not alone in this journey. At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, we are honored to stand alongside you, support you, and help you find the justice and peace you deserve.

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In my experience and in my abusive past, the power was taken away from me. I received my power back going through this process. I received my voice back. Allison B.
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