So, basically Sugar Ray Leonard in his new memoir gave an account of being sexually assaulted by an Olympic coach as a teenager. Some soi-disant "feminist" on a blog (Echidne of the Snakes) is questioning his story because "of course" he would have fought back....and somehow conflates this with the "gay panic" defense.
As coffeeandink says, "Feminism, you're doing it wrong."
Aside from the general tackiness of accusing someone of lying about such a thing, and the unsavory racist odor of the poster's defense of his remarks....I find Leonard's account credible because of two things:
One, he describes a previous incident where the coach encouraged him to bathe naked with another athlete, and hung around to watch. This is typical of the "testing" behavior that abusers will engage in (and undercuts the argument that whossname on the blog is making that it would be "too dangerous" for someone to approach a young boxer that way. It wasn't too dangerous because the abuser already knew that he probably wouldn't protest, based on previous incidents. There were probably others that Leonard either didn't choose to include or didn't realize were related).
Two, he says the coach praised his "bright future" then maneuvered him to be alone. This is textbook manipulation. It simultaneously feeds a young person's desire for praise and encouragement and works as a subtle threat: "You have a bright future ahead of you, so don't do anything to screw it up." Someone in a position of power such as a coach wouldn't have to say in so many words, "I can help you if you're cooperative, and hurt you if you aren't." It would be implicit.
This rings true to me because I have experienced something very similar....weirdly similar, considering I was at no time any kind of athlete. But I did take martial arts as a freshman in college, and was pretty good at it. My instructor praised me, told me I was unusually talented...and encourage me to come in after hours for individual instruction. Whereupon he proceeded to make sexual advances. I froze up, didn't say anything, left....and never went back. I dropped something I loved and was good at like a rock because of that.
Obviously this doubting Thomas knows nothing about sexual abuse of teenagers or its psychology.
There have been some legal cases in Canada which dealt with abuse of teenage athletes. In one case, at least 3 junior hockey players were sexually abused for years by their coach. One of them brought legal action against him years later, the other initiated proceedings and wrote about it in his autobiography. None of those boys fought back, even though they went on to be professional hockey players - a profession not noted for its pacifism. The fact that they didn't fight back haunted them. They could probably tell McCarthy a thing or two.
BTW, McCarthy is posting all over the comments section of this blog entry