Sexual Abuse in Sport

A Qualitative Case Study

  • Helen Owton

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Helen Owton
    Pages 1-6
  3. Helen Owton
    Pages 21-40
  4. Helen Owton
    Pages 41-53
  5. Helen Owton
    Pages 55-79
  6. Helen Owton
    Pages 81-109
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 111-128

About this book


This book is about sexual abuse in sport, and specifically about one girl’s experience of long-term chronic abuse in sport. A ‘non-conventional’ approach is employed to explore the experiences of a female athlete named Bella who was groomed, sexually abused by her male coach, and then subjected to years of athlete domestic violence. Through a collaborative auto-ethnography process, these experiences are reported through vignettes and selected poems seeking to involve the reader in the grooming process of a young female athlete, so that they might react from the different social positions they currently occupy. 

Bella’s story acts as a pedagogical resource in ways that stimulate ethical discussions and enhance knowledge of sexual abuse in sport, by assisting those involved to better understand their own ‘field’ and the dynamics of abuse within it, in order to develop effective abuse prevention strategies.

Helen Owton is a chartered psychologist and a lecturer in Sport and Fitness in the School of Childhood, Youth and Sport at the Open University. She has published widely in sport and in the field of sexual abuse in sport, and has won a "Citation for Excellence" award from the Qualitative Methods of Psychology. Her primary research specialisms lie in innovative qualitative investigations of sporting embodiment and gender, and other research interests focus around chronic illnesses (especially asthma), women’s boxing, and dance.


Physical Education Coach Exercise Authority Sport violence rape

Authors and affiliations

  • Helen Owton
    • 1
  1. 1.The Open University Milton KeynesUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information