La Caída, a Film That Reveals the Drama of Sexual Abuse in Sport

La Caída, a Film That Reveals the Drama of Sexual Abuse in Sport

According to UNMUJERES At a global level, it is estimated that 736 million women -around one in three- have experienced physical or sexual violence at some time in their lives

This scandalous number has also affected world sports.2020 and 2021 became key years for the entire #METOO movement, not only film producers, actors, and artists, in general,l have been involved but also the world of sports.

Emblematic cases such as that of the renowned and several-time Olympic champion Simone Biles put the abuse by coaches in various sports on trial, and this year thanks to the film directed by Lucia Puenzo and starring and produced by the Mexican star Karla Souza returns to this topic, this time in the bodies of some Olympic swimmers who fight for their dream.

La Caída, which can be seen on the Amazon Prime platform, recounts the life of a swimmer who is fighting for her last chance to participate and win the Olympic Games, a dream that is at risk because her synchronized swimming partner suffers an accident that it leaves the Olympians out of contention.

The film follows the story of Mariel, a swimmer who, since she was young, has prepared daily to win a medal for her country. Already older, at an age that for athletes already means retirement, she is competing for the last time for a place in the Olympic Games, this time next to a 14-year-old girl who, like her, is projected as a sports star.

This encounter leads to a series of excesses that affect her physical and mental health until she discovers that what afflicts her is precisely the abuse she suffered as a teenager and that at that moment her partner begins to live in charge of her coach.

A survey carried out by TI with athletes from several countries – with a special focus on Germany, Romania, Mexico, and Zimbabwe – revealed that just over one athlete in three had experienced at least one situation of sexual violence in organized sport.

While recent high-profile cases in sports like gymnastics and soccer have underscored the extent of sexual abuse, the problem remains largely unreported in that industry. “Sextortion,” defined as the abuse of power for sexual gain, a form of both sexual abuse and corruption, is not yet widely recognized.

Everything also indicates that inequality and the prevailing machismo in sport is one of the reasons why women in most sports have a male coach, elucidating the lack of opportunities for athletes who want to occupy this position as physical trainers, coaches,s and even team owners.

There are these ‘old man networks,’ where older men stay in positions of power for decades, and have no incentive to change the status quo, so the system perpetuates itself,” Marie Chene, head of research at Transparency International for an interview for Deutsche Welle

The UNESCO Code of Sports Ethics states that sports organizations have a responsibility to:

Ensure the implementation of guarantees in the context of a general framework of support and protection for minors, young people, and women, to protect the aforementioned groups from sexual abuse and harassment and to prevent the exploitation of minors, particularly those who show precocious aptitudes.

As a result of this, the Committee has implemented protocols to prevent and combat sexual abuse in sports programs that includes The sexual harassment and abuse tool that has been developed for athletes, coaches, and sports organizations available on the page:

The film, in addition to highlighting the performance of Karla Souza, is a proposal from the director who has also been a victim of these abuses and believes that her film can help athletes and women in general who are going through this. In the tape, abuse, he accounts for abuse of power and trust to which many coaches of various modalities have access and in which family members also place their trust. The coaches travel, sharing most of the time with these athletes, for whom training is vital at a very young age, sometimes without understanding the limits between the abuse and the training to which they are subjected. In the film, the actress shows the consequences of these abuses such as anxiety crises, depression, and excess; as well as the guilt that always accompanies these victims.

Since its arrival on Amazon Prime Video, the film has become one of the most viewed on the platform. Hence, many have wondered if The Fall is based on a true story or a fictional one.

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