I'm a college football player, and my friend Carmen and I are calling on the National Federation of High School Associations to train high school coaches to prevent rape.
Sign Our Petition -
Trigger warning: this email contains information about sexual assault that may be upsetting to survivors.
On March 13, two high school football players will be put on trial in Steubenville, Ohio. They're accused of raping an unconscious girl at a party for hours while others watched. Pictures were posted on the internet of the girl being dragged upstairs by her wrists and ankles. And their coach has been accused of covering up the alleged crime.
Some people are saying that what happened in Steubenville is part of a culture of hero worship, where star football players can get away with anything. We've seen this over and over again, from Steubenville high school up to the NFL. I'm a college football player, and I've seen it with my own eyes.
I believe that playing sports is great for kids, and playing football helped me develop into the strong person I am today. But I cannot deny that there's a link between sports culture and rape culture, and that something must be done to fix it.
My friend Carmen and I started a petition on Change.org asking the National Federation of High School Associations, which trains coaches in more than 18,000 high schools, to develop a training to prevent sexual assault. Will you click here to ! sign?
My friend Carmen has worked as a rape crisis counselor, and one thing that shocks us both is how many women blame themselves for being raped. Even in the Steubenville case, some people tried to blame the alleged victim by saying it was her fault for going to a party alone.
We have got to stop blaming victims and start teaching young men that it is never okay to have sex with someone against her will. Not even if she's drunk, not even if she's your girlfriend.
Playing sports is a privilege, not a right -- and doing so comes with responsibilities for players and for coaches. Training coaches to teach their players to prevent sexual assault is the first step to making sure that what happened in Steubenville never happens again. The National Federation of High School Associations runs trainings that reach over 11 million students, and those trainings are mandated by law in a lot of states. I know that if enough people sign Carmen's and my petition, the NFHSA will see that this is an opportunity to do tremendous good and help millions of kids.
Click here to sign Carmen's and my petition calling on the NFHSA to develop a training to help high school coaches prevent sexual assault.