UNCG Campus Weekly

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Donna Duffy works to reduce and prevent sexually violent language in coaching

Dr. Donna Duffy is an assistant professor of kinesiology and the director of the Program for the Advancement of Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity. Her research centers around sexual violence in athletics.

Outside the classroom, you can often find her on the sidelines in and around Greensboro coaching women’s field hockey. She knows — and hears — the content of coaches’ language firsthand.

She has created a one-hour workshop, “Coaching Coaches: An Educational Workshop to Reduce and Prevent Sexually Violent Language in Coaching,” that encourages high school coaches and athletic directors to use language that is corrective and constructive when teaching and motivating their athletes, rather than language that is derogatory, sexually violent or blatant name calling.

The use of rough language — such as encouraging players to “rape” their opponents — desensitizes people from the real trauma of sexual violence, Duffy said.

Program evaluations indicate the training is getting results. Over 80 percent of coaches report the workshop will help them do their jobs differently and better. So far about 150 coaches and 30 athletic directors from across North Carolina have attended the training. The workshop’s information has also been presented at numerous regional and national conferences. An online version of the workshop is currently in development and is expected to be available in early fall.

Full story at UNCG News.

By Lanita Withers Goins