Consecutive Abusive Soccer Coaches Demonstrate Goshen Must Invite Survivors to Share Experiences
- Current and past members of the Goshen Women’s Soccer Team have shared their experiences of abuse headed up by two separate coaching teams – reports include sexual abuse, food and housing deprivation, financial deception and manipulation, and racist and homophobic verbal abuse. The abuse was enabled by a negligent, dismissive, and sexist response on the part of Athletic Department personnel and Human Resources. Misconduct reporting procedures were violated or ignored.
- In May 2018, Goshen President Rebecca Stoltzfus attacked the credibility of two specific survivors while addressing the Athletic Department that employed the abusive coaches. Within several days of this address, Into Account began receiving reports of retaliatory action taken by Athletic Department staff aimed at both current and former students who had reported abuse.
- The Goshen Board of Directors sent these survivors a sadly inadequate response to their requests for change at Goshen, while also reprimanding them for live-streaming their own words and claiming they broke an agreement not to do so that Into Account made on their behalf. This assertion is incorrect and frustrating, but more to the point, it distracts from the problem of systemic abuse in the athletic department, and allows Goshen board members to justify their incomplete commitments by shifting blame onto survivor whistleblowers.
- Administrative attacks on survivors have a chilling effect on survivor reporting. They communicate to people who might otherwise disclose abuse that they will be attacked, discredited, and not believed. They communicate a green light to abusers. They also distract from systemic problems by focusing on individual messengers.
We know that the courageous women who spoke about their abuse on May 5 are not alone. They live-streamed their remarks at the request of other student athlete survivors from Goshen.
There is a better way forward. As part of the larger Goshen community, you have the power to help make it safer for survivors of abuse at Goshen to speak openly. Take Action! Here’s what you can do to help.
Clicking any of our action links will automatically create an e-mail using your computer’s email client. Simply sign it where the brackets indicate, add your email address in the “to” line, and press send. Please don’t forget to include your name and, if applicable, your connection to Goshen.
Having trouble with the button? No worries!
You can write an email yourself, or use our prepared template below. Ask the Board to issue a general welcome for current and former Goshen student athletes who have experienced abuse of any kind to come speak to the board.
(If you aren’t using the prepared template and aren’t able to access the board email addresses through the template, simply send your email to the chair of the Board, Bruce Stahly, at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The goal is simple: Empower victims to speak, and encourage the kind of transparency that makes abuse harder to hide or ignore.
Dear Goshen Board of Directors:
I’m writing in support of the former women’s soccer players who spoke in front of Goshen representatives on May 5. Their courageous testimony about the physical, emotional, sexual, racial, and financial abuse they experienced while at Goshen deserves to be heard and taken seriously. The systemic conditions they describe are unacceptable, and it is your responsibility to make sure that Goshen is continually held to account for its treatment of student athletes.
We know that these women are not the only survivors of abuse in the Goshen Athletic Department. In the spirit of transparency and openness, I request that you issue a public, general invitation welcoming current and former student athletes who have experienced abuse of any kind at Goshen to speak about their experiences to the Board. I believe that you need to hear what they have to say.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
(if applicable, list your graduating class or any other connections to Goshen as well)