Kathy Redmond waited two years to report a rape by a popular athlete at the University of Nebraska, says Women’s eNews. “I was afraid of how Nebraska would react,” she says. “Nobody really understands how being raped and then becoming public enemy No. 1 to the team and its fans can damage a victim.” Redmond, 32, heads the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, an advocacy group for victims based in Littleton, Co., that she created after settling a civil suit in 1997. It has helped over 250 victims of rape by athletes.
Some rape victims also say fears of public reaction are fading, in part due to instances of a changing attitude in the media towards their stories. Conviction rates for those cases known to involve athletes accused of rape hover around 30 percent, far less than those in normal rape cases, which is over 80 percent. Many victims are scared off from making criminal complaints by the potential flurry of media attention and subsequent public reaction and the damage it can do them and their families. “Most people realize the world of athletes is a different realm and victims are often seen as being groupies, wanting to be part of that world, therefore having asked for the treatment they received,” says Redmond.