Game over: It’s a red card for sexual assault

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Our community recently learned that a former member of Louisville’s professional women’s soccer team says she experienced sexual assault by her coach, who was fired in 2021 when the alleged incidences came to light. Since more details were revealed this week, both the soccer and wider communities have rallied around the team in a show of support.

This is a public and painful reminder that unwanted sexual advances and assault can happen in places or groups that we generally trust to be safe, such as sports teams, classrooms, places of worship, and even families. While this particular case is in the spotlight as part of a broader, ongoing investigation into several women’s soccer teams around the country, far too many people’s experiences fly under the radar, going unreported by survivors who are uncertain about how—or whether—to get help.

As Kentuckiana’s domestic violence and rape crisis center, The Center for Women and Families’ free, anonymous hotline is available 24/7 at 1-844-237-2331. We talk with survivors about what they’ve experienced, help them work through what they’re feeling, and share resources available to them. The Center’s advocates can accompany those who want to seek medical attention after an assault, and/or they can help guide survivors through the legal process if they decide to take action against their perpetrators.

As the Racing Louisville FC team continues to work through this upsetting time, we stand by their players and offer any and all assistance in their journey toward healing. We believe survivors, and any form of sexual abuse has no place here.

How can you help? Acknowledge that sexual assault CAN happen to you or someone you know. Make sure your friends and family know that you’re available to listen if they need to talk. Believe survivors when they open up about their experiences. Save The Center’s number in your phone so it can be easily shared with someone who needs it.

Together, we can help create a safer, more loving community.