Updated March 2017.
If an organization would simply take the time to help us connect the dots before making announcements that would be super helpful. It took me months to figure out the the history behind the USEF motivation to move into Safe Sport, because no explanations were provided to the public. At an annual meeting, I finally was able to piece it together.
The US Equestrian is a governing body of equestrian sports. Each sport has it’s own federation. USA Gymnastics for example. All of the governing bodies of sport fall under the umbrellas organization of the United States Olympic Committee. USOC. You may have heard of it.
If the USOC tells the governing bodies of sport to do something, those federations need to do it. Period. That is simply how it works.
Does another sports organization’s activities affect our own? Yes, if there are problems arising from one, we all are affected.
A well respected horseman admitted concern over the sudden request for officials (Judges) to provide, at their own cost, background checks every two years. I went through this and I was fingerprinted once for an independent contracting job at a private school for the riding program, a position I held for about a decade. It was a common practice for schools upheld by state and federal law, and one submission of this information was sufficient for my tenure there.
The US Equestrian requires it. Some of the Frequently Asked Questions on the old website:
When will I have to run a background check? In order to renew your License for the 2014 competition year, you must submit the necessary waivers so that a background check can be run. After that, background checks will be renewed every two (2) years.
Who has to submit to a background check? Everyone who falls under the category of “USEF Designee” must comply with the USEF Background Check Policy. This includes, but is not limited to, all USEF staff, licensed officials, and any individual that USEF formally authorizes, approves, or appoints to a position of authority over or to have frequent contact with any athlete.
We are the National Governing Body (NGB) of Equestrian Sport in the United States. We provide leadership and vision for equestrian sport by regulating competitions and promoting the safety and welfare of horses and riders while encouraging interest, participation, and excellence at every competitive level. We embrace the Olympic movement and the spirit of fair play while supporting all breed and discipline affiliates within the Federation [USEF] family equally. We celebrate the equestrian lifestyle and the benefits of good health and outdoor exercise. There are six primary types of misconduct covered in this Safe Sport Policy Handbook for the purpose of athlete protection:
• Emotional Misconduct
• Physical Misconduct
• Sexual Misconduct
Misconduct may damage an athlete’s psychological well-being. Athletes who have been mistreated may experience social embarrassment, emotional turmoil, psychological scars, loss of self-esteem, and negatively affected relationships with family and friends. Misconduct often hurts an athlete’s competitive performance and may cause him or her to drop out of sport entirely.
Non-touching offenses. Behaviors that include:
- discussing one’s sex life with another athlete;
- asking an athlete about his her sex life;
- requesting or sending nude or partial-dress photo to an athlete
- exposing athletes to pornographic material
- sending athletes sexually explicit or suggestive electronic or written messages or photos (ie:sexting) (hello snap)
- deliberately or recklessly exposing an athlete to nudity (except in situations where locker rooms and changing areas are shared)
- or – sexual harassment; specifically, the sexual solicitation, physical advances, or verbal or nonverbal conduct that is sexual in nature, and • is unwelcome, offensive, or creates a hostile environment, and the offending individual knows or is told this; or • is sufficiently severe or intense to be harassing to a reasonable person in the context.
I am gonna go with 100% of the membership is in violation with the Safe Sport Policy as of right now.
And that was my thought two years ago.
WHERE DID THIS COME FROM?? We are Equestrians, better than this, right? Well, yes, most of us are with the exception of some few creeps out there. However, it wasn’t an equestrian problem. It was a GYMNASTICS problem. USA Gymnastics went under intense scrutiny for NOT reporting creeps to the proper authorities, instead simply filing hundreds of complaints of sexual misconduct of coaches. No action from the Federation was taken, and coaches continued to abuse hundreds of girls over the last 20 years. It wasn’t until parents finally started stepping in that the FBI uncovered a whole lot of bullshit.
This will make your stomach turn…. http://www.indystar.com/story/news/investigations/2016/08/04/usa-gymnastics-sex-abuse-protected-coaches/85829732/
And in 2012 USA Gymnastics finally instituted a long overdue Awareness and Action Plan. https://usagym.org/pages/education/ClubsCare/
Did it help? Well, yesterday the current USA Gymnastics President stepped down. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/usa-gymnastics-president-steve-penny-resigns-amid-sex-abuse-scandal/
Now I get why equestrians are affected and when the USOC makes a demand, we should just go ahead and listen.
I went through and took the course, watched the videos of the Safe Sport Policy that we have through US Equestrian. I answered all the questions, and you know what? I want it to be required for every member to take it. Deplorable human beings do not deserve to be around children, and maybe if we all took the course, we would have more awareness of what could possibly go on. Just do it, be a better person and take the course. It costs nothing.
For the link to the new website: https://www.usef.org/compete/resources-forms/rules-regulations/safe-sport-policy
it will guide you to the TEAM USA store http://training.teamusa.org/store/details/1