Olympic Hopeful Boxer Speaks Out About Incest and Sexual Abuse

Quanitta "Queen" Underwood's bravery is inspiring and will encourage others to seek help.

Posted: 02/22/2012 08:30 AM EST
Quanitta Underwood

The statistics surrounding sexual abuse of children are staggering.

 

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), 15 percent of sexual assault and rape cases occur among children under the age of 12, with 93 percent of juvenile sexual assault perpetuated by someone they know. Of those assaults, 34.2 percent of attackers were family members, 58.7 percent were acquaintances and only 7 percent were complete strangers.

 

While, each year, nearly 80,000 incidents of child sexual abuse are reported to authorities, the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry believes that, nationally, six million children are abused each year.

 

Recently one of those survivors decided to speak out.  

 

In an inspiring New York Times feature, Quanitta "Queen" Underwood, a 27-year-old boxer from Seattle, Washington, spoke about the incest she endured by her own father. Underwood, who is a five-time national lightweight champion, is going through the Olympic trials in hopes to win a gold medal this year in the 2012 Summer Olympics — the first time that the Olympics has included a women's category in the sport.

 

Her father, who was an active member of their local church, Church of God and Christ, began molesting Underwood when she was in the 7th grade, and had previously molested her older sister, as well. After years of abuse, they finally told their mother, who was not living in the home with them. He was arrested and sent to prison, and was released in 2005.

 

While healing has been a challenging process, Underwood and her sister have received therapy, which has helped her decide to tell her story, not just for herself, but for others.

 

Underwood, of course, covets a gold medal and the fame that would come with it. "I want to take that ride,” she told the New York Times. “I want to be a household name.”

 

But, beyond that, she wants to be a symbol of hope to anyone who has ever been sexually abused, though to do so requires something harder for her than a thousand hours of hitting the heavy bag. She has to talk about what happened.

 

Not only will sharing her story help others — last year she started a website to give others hope.

 

Quanitta, a girl who felt like a nobody, always imagined there was "somebody" within. That’s why she called her web site Living Out the Dream.

 

Her story reminds us that sexual abuse impacts everyone in the U.S., including African-Americans.

 

If you or someone you know is being sexually abused, please call Childhelp, 1-800-4-A-Child (800-422-4453).

 

To learn more about sexual abuse, incest and resources, go here.

 

 

BET Health News - We go beyond the music and entertainment world to bring you important medical information and health-related tips of special relevance to Blacks in the U.S. and around the world.

(Photo: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Videos You May Like

From Our Partners