On Valentine’s Day, I was ecstatic to see so much participation in Eve Ensler’s One Billion Rising event to create a conversation about sexual violence, healing for survivors of assault, and a way for participants to advocate against sexual violence. Ensler has had an annual V-day event, but this year it seemed particularly well-attended. In the Twin Cities, there were dancing and performance events; I was on calI with Ramsey County Sexual Offense Services, so I was disappointed I couldn’t attend. I have loved Ensler’s work since the first time I saw her play, The Vagina Monologues (If you have not seen this play, I highly advise you to do so ASAP). While continuing to be a playwright and author, Ensler has become an advocate to end violence against women and girls around the world. Here is a short story from NPR about the day:
However, I was also saddened this week to learn about two events in the running community which highlighted the issue of sexual violence.
First, Olympic 400m runner Oscar Pistorius is in the second day of his bail hearing for the charge of a pre-meditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius shot her three times from outside a locked bathroom door, claiming he thought she was an intruder. How anyones first thought of a locked bathroom door means an intruder is in the house is ridiculous, and a pathetic defense. How would his girlfriend’s presence make him believe a dangerous killer was in the house? And wouldn’t he have made sure there was a stranger behind the door, by talking to the person, before shooting at them four times? Of course, I do not know the details of the case, but I am pissed off that a man who was so successful and famous seems to think of girlfriends as easily dispensable.
Second, I learned former University of Toledo head cross country and track coach, Kevin Hadsell, resigned of his coaching position at the end of January after a former runner told University officials Hadsell was sexually harassing her through lewd text messages. Hadsell has been accused of dating and having a physical relationship with several of his current and former athletes throughout his tenure at Toledo. Hadsell started grooming some of his athletes in their freshman and sophomore years by incessantly texting them. If they responded, they were rewarded with more attention as an athlete; if not they were ignored. There was an “in-crowd” of women of the team who he was friendly with outside of practice, and these women were the one who got to travel. In addition, he has been accused of drinking during practice, giving alcohol to underage runners on the team, and driving the team van while intoxicated.
I am so disgusted by Hadsell’s abuse of his position of power. I cannot imagine trying to be a student athlete in an a team environment where there are so few boundaries and the coach is turning women against each other in order to have more control over them individually. His actions are completely unethical and, in some instances, illegal. I hope he is held accountable for his actions, and I really hope he is not allowed to coach anywhere else.
Here is two text conversations he had with one of his former athletes who helped him coach the team:
Hadsell: "I don't know but it was honest and that sucked because OB and Kelly didn't know that."
Andrea: "Oooh oopsies. Well that was a long time ago though."
Hadsell: "Exactly. Dude I hate shit like that. People don't think about all the good I've done when they make a call like that."
Andrea: "Honesty - I bet it was strategically done when were having all this success to try to tear it down. I mean really, because if that person was really concerned why wouldn't they place the call as soon as they knew about all this?"
Andrea: "And uhhh you can date former athletes correct?"
Hadsell: "Exactly. Pussies."
Hadsell: "Dude don't mention a word of this to anyone."
Andrea: "If it were to get out it would put a serious dark cloud over our program"
Hadsell: "Yes. They even said I can from the day they graduate. They don't care."
The university had nothing to go on except for an anonymous phone call, and Hadsell was apparently cleared. If he was at all chastened by the investigation, he didn't show it. Here's a series of texts from Oct. 7, five days after he'd complained that someone was out to ruin his career with allegations of inappropriate relationships with his runners. Around 10 p.m.:
Hadsell: "I want to talk."
Hadsell: "And Be real"
Andrea: "Okay we can"
Hadsell: "Dude. Straighgt up...can I trust you? And. Are u really interested in me?"
Andrea: "Yes you can trust me"
No further texts for an hour. Then:
Hadsell: "Are u awake?"
No further texts until 12:57 a.m.
Hadsell: "I guess not. Fuckk."
Four days later, while in Wisconsin for a cross-country meet, Andrea told Hadsell she knew he'd been sleeping with Caitlin, who had graduated the previous spring. Hadsell denied everything.
Andrea: "you really don't lead her on at all?"
Hadsell: "Dude. I don't. I don't completely discourage. I'm a guy. Duhh. That's honest."
Andrea: "I knew it"
Hadsell: "Like you know what I mean. You're not ENCOURAGING. But you're not"
Hadsell: "Not gonna lie. I would hook up with [Caitlin] (I havemt) but if she wasn't psycho I would."
Hadsell: "But you and I are far too cool not to."
Andrea: "She is psycho! I told you!"
Hadsell: "If I fuck her I'm fucked"
Hadsell: "It may be a good ride. Just sayin."
Hadsell: "But now sure of the rest of it."
Andrea: "Hahaha noting man"
Hadsell: "Hahaha. That she may be a good lay?"
Andrea: "No I'm sure she is"
Andrea: "But she's just crazy nano"
Hadsell: "Not worth it."
Hadsell: "Dhe talks a big game."
Andrea: "I'm sure"
Hadsell: ".maybe you talk a big gAme?"
Andrea: "Hey I'm going to bounce soon man"
Hadsell: "Fucmkkk. :("
Andrea: "I know man"
Andrea: "Obvi Ill keep in touch"
Hadsell: "Fuck man."