Topic 2 How to Identify potential GBV incidents that may occur

Identifying potential gender-based violence (GBV) incidents that may occur in basketball involves recognizing behaviors, attitudes, and situations that could indicate the presence of GBV.

Here are some specific steps to help identify potential GBV incidents in the context of basketball:

Observe the behavior of the players, coaches, and other individuals involved in basketball. Look for signs of intimidation, coercion, or manipulation.

Make all efforts to ensure a safe and supportive environment where players feel comfortable to share their concerns and experiences. Be non-judgmental, and stimulate open communication for any GBV or related issues.

Keep an eye on team dynamics, including relationships between players and coaches, peer interactions, and social dynamics within the team. Watch for signs of bullying, harassment, or exclusion based on gender or other identities.

Be mindful of the language players, coaches, and spectators use during games and practices. Watch for derogatory or demeaning remarks related to gender or sexuality.

Be careful of signs that may indicate potential GBV incidents, such as unexplained injuries, changes in mood or behavior, fear of certain persons, social isolation.

Know the factors that may increase the risk of GBV within the basketball environment. GBV incidents can be influenced by a variety of factors. Understanding these risk factors is important for prevention of the incidents. Here are some common risk factors for GBV incidents in basketball:

  • Power Imbalance: In basketball, power imbalances may exist between players, coaches, and other figures with authority. Such imbalance of the power can create opportunities for abuse and harassment.
  • Toxic Masculinity: The culture of sports, including basketball, often promotes stereotypes of masculinity that prioritize dominance, aggression, and control. This can contribute to behaviors that normalize GBV.
  • Peer Pressure: Pressure to fit to the group norms and expectations within a team environment can lead to bullying, harassment, or hazing, which may escalate into GBV incidents.
  • Competitive Domain: Basketball is a competitive sport and this can increase pressure and potential conflicts, respectively enlarging the chance of aggressive or even violent behavior, on and off the court.
  • Social Norms and Gender Stereotypes: Social norms and expectations regarding gender roles and relationships can effect abusive behavior within the basketball community. For instance, assumptions that normally men are strong and dominant and women are weak and submissive may lead to coercion and unequal treatment.
  • Poor Policies and Lack of Training: The lack of adequate policies and protocols for preventing and responding to GBV may empower abusive behavior, because there is no expectation to be punished. A lack of training for coaches, players and staff on GBV understanding and prevention can leave them unprepared to recognize and react to abusive incidents.
  • Alcohol Abuse: The consumption of alcohol, especially during social events or celebrations related to basketball events, can lower holdbacks and escalate the possibility of aggressive or abusive behavior.

Safeguarding Athletes from Harassment and Abuse. IOC Toolkit for IFs and NOCs stress several risk factors when studying why GBV occurs in sports, like:

Sports often have clear hierarchies, with coaches, team captains, and star players holding significant power and influence. In such environments, individuals with higher status may feel entitled to exert control over others, including teammates, coaches, or support staff.

This culture prioritizes winning above all else, often glorifying aggression, physical dominance, and hyper-competitiveness. In such environments, athletes may feel pressure to demonstrate their toughness and assert their dominance. In pursuit of victory, athletes may dehumanize their opponents, viewing them solely as obstacles to overcome rather than fellow competitors or individuals deserving of respect. Violent behavior may become normalized or even celebrated as a sign of dedication, commitment, and toughness.

When perpetrators of GBV face few consequences for their actions, either due to a lack of reporting or ineffective disciplinary measures, it can embolden them to continue their abusive behavior.

Furthermore, according to IOC experts, GBV occurs in a sports environment where three factors align:

There is a perpetrator with a high inclination or motivation to harass/abuse;

The sports culture has few or no athlete protection mechanisms in place (for example, no prevention policies or procedures)

Athlete vulnerability is high.