LPGA’s Sagstrom reveals childhood sexual abuse

LPGA Tour participant Madelene Sagstrom first shared her secret 5 years in the past. For 16 years, she acted like nothing had occurred. She immersed herself in golf, creating an identification on the course.

But in March 2016, as she ready for a Symetra Tour occasion, Sagstrom could not maintain it in any longer. She wanted to open up about being sexually abused on the age of seven by an grownup male buddy in Sweden.

In an LPGA Drive On video characteristic launched Monday, Sagstrom, 28, shared her story of childhood sexual abuse and the therapeutic that occurred after she determined to speak about what occurred to her.

Sagstrom, who has been on the LPGA Tour since 2017 and received the 2020 Gainbridge LPGA, returns to that event beginning Thursday at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando, Florida.

Throughout the method of serving to Sagstrom share her story, LPGA officers say they’ve realized rather a lot and began conversations round what sources and help the tour has in place for present and future gamers relating to sexual abuse.

Roberta Bowman, the LPGA’s chief model and communications officer, stated that by LPGA/USA Girls Golf, which reaches almost 100,000 ladies a yr, the tour needed to ensure Girls Golf leaders had the required sources. The tour continues to observe the SafeSport protocol, and labored carefully with RAINN, the National Sexual Assault Hotline, through the means of getting ready to inform Sagstrom’s story.

And this week, the LPGA might be sharing sources and help from RAINN to the USGA Girls Golf leaders. Some of these sources embrace ideas for adults on learn how to shield youngsters from sexual abuse, learn how to know the warning indicators of grooming and social media security.

Additionally, for the women, a few of the sources will embrace what to do if one thing occurred that made them really feel uncomfortable or not secure.

In the video and her accompanying first-person essay, Sagstrom defined how she first shared her story together with her mentor, Robert Karlsson, a former Ryder Cup participant who she had met by the Swedish National Team. After struggling together with her feelings on the course, Sagstrom turned to Karlsson for assist. In return, Karlsson inspired her to dig deep and take a look at to determine the basis of her struggles.

“I had this factor come up in my thoughts. At first, I did not suppose it was vital. But it saved coming again time and again,” Sagstrom stated in her essay printed on LPGA.com. “I assumed, ‘Maybe there’s something there. Maybe I ought to inform Robert.'”

While getting ready for a event in Greenwood, South Carolina, Sagstrom instructed Karlsson she had been sexually abused as a toddler. In the LPGA video, Sagstrom stated telling Karlsson helped her be at liberty.

“This was one thing I used to be by no means going to inform anyone,” Sagstrom stated Sunday. “It was a narrative and it was an expertise that was deeply hidden inside me, and I used to be by no means going to share that with anyone, and I simply got here to appreciate once I began working with Robert, this has modified me. This has made me who I’m as we speak.”

Sagstrom received her first LPGA title on the Gainbridge LPGA final yr. Afterward, she printed a letter to her youthful self on her Facebook web page, revealing extra about her childhood and her journey to that time.

Prior to that submit, Sagstrom stated she additionally shared her story on Facebook in 2017. At that time, the LPGA was conscious of Sagstrom’s expertise with sexual abuse. But up till then, the LPGA’s major aim was to signify and shield Sagstrom and her story.

“It was after Gainbridge final yr on the top of Madelene’s kind of profession success, and simply watching how she dealt with herself within the aftermath of that, the considerate solutions to the media questions, after which she did one thing very fascinating, and he or she posted on her Facebook web page a letter to little Madelene, and that grew to become the sign to us that there was a rising sense of consolation in a broader sharing of this story,” Bowman stated.

For greater than a yr, the LPGA and Sagstrom have labored collectively on revealing the total story of Sagstrom’s previous as a part of its Drive On initiatives.

“It’s been an ongoing scenario,” Bowman stated. “But we actually wanted to fulfill ourselves, each Madelene and the LPGA, that she was prepared to do that.”

Sagstrom stated she feels able to go public in a bigger manner together with her story, and that her greatest hope is she may help others understand they don’t seem to be alone.

“Over the years, my platform has grown. Being a winner in 2020 has simply opened up the doorways that I do know that I can share extra of myself, and it is going to attain extra individuals,” Sagstrom stated. “I figured it was the right timing. The LPGA has been superb with all of the help. We labored on this for a really very long time, and I feel the timing is nice. I simply needed to only assist someone on the market.”

In telling Sagstrom’s story, the LPGA hopes to create difficult however impactful conversations on and off the golf course.

“There are so many layers of this explicit story,” Bowman stated. “If your life is touched with trauma, to have that dialog and attain out to others. If you’re fortunate sufficient that you have been spared that, possibly you will end up within the position of Robert Karlsson and having to have that judgment on the very second, and to create that dialog round how can we respect and help individuals going by their very own adjustments.”

With the publishing of Sagstrom’s Drive On video, she stated she needs the main target to be on the steps she has taken since first sharing her secret and going public together with her childhood sexual abuse. She additionally hopes that she could be a guiding mild for others who may want sources and help.

“I’m telling the story however what I need to give attention to and what I need to share with individuals is it is the steps that I’ve finished afterwards, the choices that I’ve determined to do to develop,” Sagstrom stated. “It’s not about what occurred, it is about how did I develop out of this, how did I change into the model that I’m as we speak.”

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