Tarah Kayne details abuse allegations against sanctioned coach Sappenfield

Carolla5501

Well-Known Member
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6,776
These allegations are most troubling. I would be more concerned for any of the 11 people who are under the age of 21. It appears Tarah was treated badly, but she is in her mid twenties and tolerated the abuse. Some responsibility must be put on her for continuing to stay in that situation.
Not as much responsibility as you should assume for the "dumb statement of the thread" I wondered how long it would take the "blame the victim" chant to start. Do us all a favor and take your total lack of empathy and understanding someplace else!


Personally I wonder if USFS is going to have some issues. I can see a civil suit if they sent skaters to this coach and/or encouraged skaters to go to this abuser for coaching. Considering the impact USFS can have over a skater's career I think they may have an issue with a civil suit.
 

Vagabond

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21,866
@Duchess, educate yourself.

Here's a start:


This statement assumes that the victim is equally to blame for the abuse, when in reality, abuse is a conscious choice made by the abuser. Abusers have a choice in how they react to their partner’s actions. Options besides abuse include: walking away, talking in the moment, respectfully explaining why an action is frustrating, breaking up, etc. Additionally, abuse is not about individual actions that incite the abuser to hurt the victim/survivor, but rather about the abuser’s feelings of entitlement to do whatever the abuser wants to their partner. When friends and family remain neutral about the abuse and say that both people need to change, they are taking away responsibility from the perpetrator, thereby colluding with/supporting the abusive partner and making it less likely that the survivor will seek support.
 
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Duchess

Member
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73
I did not mean to insinuate that Tarah or any other victim is responsible for their abuse. I do believe, however, that the level of scrutiny given to the abuser could (should) differ based upon the age of the victim. I am most appreciative for the responses with varying opinions, recommended readings, etc… That being said, the tenor of the majority of responses is toxic and nasty. Look yourselves in the mirror…don’t be abusive to others in how you react to one’s posting.
 

Lemonade20

If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
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2,351
I did not mean to insinuate that Tarah or any other victim is responsible for their abuse. I do believe, however, that the level of scrutiny given to the abuser could (should) differ based upon the age of the victim. I am most appreciative for the responses with varying opinions, recommended readings, etc… That being said, the tenor of the majority of responses is toxic and nasty. Look yourselves in the mirror…don’t be abusive to others in how you react to one’s posting.
I get your line of thinking, but unless you've been in that situation, it's not fair to judge someone who's in an abusive situation.
 

Willin

Well-Known Member
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2,375
The reason I wrote about my experience of abuse from a coach was so that people like you educate yourself at least a little bit and don’t write something so stupid! Tarah did not tolerate abuse; she was very likely caught up in it and felt she had no other way out. Her whole perception of the situation would have been skewed, she would either make excuses for the coach, thinking that ‘it was for her own good’, or thinking that she deserved such mistreatment for whatever reason.
Especially given that USFS and the powerful people at that rink held a lot of power in determining her future as a competitor. Even if she wanted to speak out or report Dalilah before now, she would've ruined her career. Leaving Dalilah - moving away from a powerful coach - can decrease your ability to get assignments. I'm sure they were also afraid that if they left she'd s***talk them to USFS in a way that could harm their careers in more ways than just leaving her. Not only that, but they went to Dalilah in the first place because Dalilah is the best coach in the US for some of their weaker elements (twists in particular) and they may have felt that if they left they may not have been able to fix that element. So, as you said, she may have thought of this as "for her own good"
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
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26,916
I did not mean to insinuate that Tarah or any other victim is responsible for their abuse. I do believe, however, that the level of scrutiny given to the abuser could (should) differ based upon the age of the victim. I am most appreciative for the responses with varying opinions, recommended readings, etc… That being said, the tenor of the majority of responses is toxic and nasty. Look yourselves in the mirror…don’t be abusive to others in how you react to one’s posting.

Wait, so people calling you out on a message board for victim blaming is “abuse” but a woman being abused by someone who has full responsibility for her career should take some responsibility for herself?

The logical pretzel you have created here is amazing
 

Coco

Rotating while Russian!
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17,659
Actually, it's not. If @Duchess feels that it is continuing she can choose to leave the group.

I understand what duchess was trying to say but don't agree. The problem with all these abusive coaches and adult athletes, is that the politics and the structure of the sport practically force the adult athletes to stay in unhealthy situations.

So sure, Tarah had a choice, but the choice wasn't pursue my Olympic dream somewhere else or stay with this abusive coach. She believed, and quite reasonably, that she could either pursue her Olympic dream in that environment or not have a career.
 

thvu

Usova's Apprentice
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I did not mean to insinuate that Tarah or any other victim is responsible for their abuse. I do believe, however, that the level of scrutiny given to the abuser could (should) differ based upon the age of the victim. I am most appreciative for the responses with varying opinions, recommended readings, etc… That being said, the tenor of the majority of responses is toxic and nasty. Look yourselves in the mirror…don’t be abusive to others in how you react to one’s posting.
Let's keep in mind that age is a construct of society, an artificial line drawn by governments to create governing and classification of citizens easier and straightforward. With that comes all the problems of identity and classification like you've just displayed.

So, with that in mind, I completely disagree. The coach / student relationship is an inherent power imbalance, regardless of the relative ages of students. Ridiculing one's self-harm is repugnant, whether it be toward a 15 year old or a 25 year old. That age difference doesn't make the victim more culpable, doesn't make the perpetrator less guilty, and doesn't change the fact that the victim needs help, protection, and support.
 

Vagabond

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21,866
I did not mean to insinuate that Tarah or any other victim is responsible for their abuse.
Balderdash. This is what you said:
These allegations are most troubling. I would be more concerned for any of the 11 people who are under the age of 21. It appears Tarah was treated badly, but she is in her mid twenties and tolerated the abuse. Some responsibility must be put on her for continuing to stay in that situation.
If you don't like getting called out for what you post, then don't post such things.
 

Tangoer

Member
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36
Maybe that they're both conservative Christians in a monogamous relationship with each other (and she liked her pairs dating eachother), maybe that they were her golden goose pair she couldn't afford to lose, maybe something else...
The golden goose pair or “something else” (such as similar personalities of Dalilah & Alexa) seem much more plausible to me. I have a very different definition of “conservative Christian” perhaps, so I would argue that isn’t a reason (also why would Dalilah favor a couple with very different morals over those with more similar morals?)

I’m just happy all the top pairs are out of that toxic situation and hope she eventually gets a full ban. Tarah is one brave woman & kudos to Danny for supporting her!!
 

Willin

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The golden goose pair or “something else” (such as similar personalities of Dalilah & Alexa) seem much more plausible to me. I have a very different definition of “conservative Christian” perhaps, so I would argue that isn’t a reason (also why would Dalilah favor a couple with very different morals over those with more similar morals?)
My point with that comment about their religion is that they are almost certainly monogamous, possibly waiting until marriage for anything sexual, and probably generally don't have a whole lot of things for her to bully them about. Or at least in the ways she reportedly does bully her students. She's notorious for apparently trying to get students to date each other - even with age/power gaps. Can't do that with a monogamous couple. Based on this article appears she bullies her female students about her perception of their promiscuity/need for sex, hooking up with people, etc. Well, being conservative Christians, they probably aren't going to go out being promiscuous or looking to hook up with people at the USOTC, so that can't be a point for her to bully them on. More stuff like that and less about morals.
 

MacMadame

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That being said, the tenor of the majority of responses is toxic and nasty. Look yourselves in the mirror…don’t be abusive to others in how you react to one’s posting.
:rolleyes:

So sure, Tarah had a choice, but the choice wasn't pursue my Olympic dream somewhere else or stay with this abusive coach. She believed, and quite reasonably, that she could either pursue her Olympic dream in that environment or not have a career.
And, in fact, when she left, she also left her career so her perceptions in this case were accurate.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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@Duchess there is no behaviour by a student of any age that justifies a coach saying things to them like "why don't you go and f*** the entire men's gymnastics team", or ordering the skater not to speak on the ice while the coach only speaks to their pairs partner.
 
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MacMadame

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She's notorious for apparently trying to get students to date each other - even with age/power gaps. Can't do that with a monogamous couple.
Well, they were dating each other. And were saying in interviews that them being married gave them an edge over the other pairs.

So it seems like they also believed that pairs that sleep together have a special connection just like Deliah.
 

MacMadame

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Being married is quite different than dating/sleeping with each other.
But it involves sleeping with each other. ;)

My point is more that Sappenfield would have no complaint about them because they were a couple. And she wouldn't be trying to force them to sleep together either. This would make the relationship better than a situation where she was pressuring people to sleep together who didn't want to.
 

MsZem

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17,418
Being married is quite different than dating/sleeping with each other. They saw marriage as giving them something over all of the other pairs, including those who were dating, some of them for years.
The most recent Olympic podium suggests that it's much better to be in a relationship with someone other than your partner.

(I'm not being serious)

Sappenfield, of course, should have focused on training and supporting her skaters, not trying to involve herself in things that were none of her business or shielding abusers.
 

Willin

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Wow the balls on Brennan. Look, it's Alexa sticking her foot in her mouth again. Although on the surface it sounds like she's supporting Tarah it can also be read like she's minimizing Tarah's experiences... The second paragraph as well sounds very evasive. If she had no good answer she either could've not answered or said only that first sentence.

Now, despite how it can be read, I think Alexa was actually trying to say was "I support her and I didn't witness any of these allegations since we weren't there at the same time."
 

greenapple

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It's not really supporting Tarah. I can't just keep giving Alexa the benefit of the doubt when she makes statements like this.
I believe the call where this question was asked was for the media to talk to Knierim/Frazier about their preparation for Skate America - so it was totally inappropriate for Brennan to raise this topic. If she wants to ask Knierim questions she should schedule a one-on-one interview.
 

overedge

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As mentioned above, Alexa and Chris had a very close relationship with Sappenfield, including letting her officiate at their wedding. I have no idea what Alexa actually saw or didn't see, but I would imagine she's struggling right now with processing the extent of the abuse that Tarah suffered through.

And even if she didn't express it in the most graceful way, she's right that abusers can be very pleasant to other people while still being horribly abusive.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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I believe the call where this question was asked was for the media to talk to Knierim/Frazier about their preparation for Skate America - so it was totally inappropriate for Brennan to raise this topic. If she wants to ask Knierim questions she should schedule a one-on-one interview.
Do you really think USFS is going to let Brennan interview Alexa one-on-one if Brennan says the interview is about Sappenfield? Not to mention that if USFS schedules its skaters for interviews or "availability", it shouldn't get to dictate the topics of what's discussed.
 

PRlady

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Do you really think USFS is going to let Brennan interview Alexa one-on-one if Brennan says the interview is about Sappenfield? Not to mention that if USFS schedules its skaters for interviews or "availability", it shouldn't get to dictate the topics of what's discussed.
Yes and no. We Comms types set the ground rules for media availabilities and reporters either play by them or don’t come. I would have cut off that question fast as Comms director for USFS.

Of course then you get spokespeople who want to answer the question anyway and you sit there quietly having a stroke.
 

Cherub721

YEAH!
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I believe the call where this question was asked was for the media to talk to Knierim/Frazier about their preparation for Skate America - so it was totally inappropriate for Brennan to raise this topic. If she wants to ask Knierim questions she should schedule a one-on-one interview.
Agreed. It's really putting Alexa on the spot. What if she was abused herself or hasn't processed how she feels about everything? That could be very triggering especially on a zoom call with multiple journalists. It's a setup because it's such a sensitive topic that if she can't formulate the right response immediately she could be accused of enabling an abuser. Alexa handled it pretty well all things considered. I think if Brennan wanted a comment from Alexa on that issue, she should have reached out to her privately and then Alexa could either have time to compose her response or not comment. It's funny because Brennan was on TSL the other day heavily promoting how skaters should feel free to come to her and share their stories, how it will all be totally off the record and she would never do anything to make them feel uncomfortable or make them talk about it in public before they're ready.
 

yeslek

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Wow the balls on Brennan. Look, it's Alexa sticking her foot in her mouth again. Although on the surface it sounds like she's supporting Tarah it can also be read like she's minimizing Tarah's experiences... The second paragraph as well sounds very evasive. If she had no good answer she either could've not answered or said only that first sentence.

Now, despite how it can be read, I think Alexa was actually trying to say was "I support her and I didn't witness any of these allegations since we weren't there at the same time."
This is very similar to what many of the gymnasts said before they also came out saying they were abused. Maybe she hasn’t come to terms with her own abuse or is feeling uncomfortable learning more about someone she was close to.
 

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