Dispelling the “Super Bowl Myth”

This Sunday, millions of people will tune in to watch the Super Bowl. While it’s an exciting time for football fans across the nation—including this lifelong 49er fan—it also conjures up an old study that has been historically misquoted and misused surrounding domestic violence and the Super Bowl.

There is no hard evidence to support that Super Bowl Sunday is a “day of dread” for women, or has given rise to significantly more incidents of domestic violence than any other day. One study 20 years ago looked at incidents in one area, but it could not be generalized beyond that.

As advocates for victims of domestic and sexual violence and activists committed to preventing and one day ending violence against women and children, we have worked hard to counter this oft-repeated statement. We can’t let one misquoted study be used to discredit what we know to be the ongoing epidemic of violence against women. Domestic, sexual, and dating violence are serious problems 365 days a year.


While there have been no rigorous national studies on whether domestic violence increases during the Super Bowl, we DO know that women and girls—most often between the ages of 16 and 24—are beaten, raped, and killed every day by their partners. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in four women will experience abuse by a spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life. On average, three women a day are killed by their husband or boyfriend or former partner.

Instead of viewing the issue of domestic violence in the narrow context of a popular sporting event, we need to focus on protecting all women from violence, all year round.

Through services that support survivors and their families; prevention programs that teach young boys and girls how to foster respectful and non-violent relationships; community- and school-based programs that help children heal from violence and abuse; and crucial legislation such as the Violence Against Women Act that will be debated in the Senate next week, we can help our nation prevent and one day end domestic and sexual violence.

Our community plays an important role in dispelling the Super Bowl myth, and in doing so we should also continue to tell the truth about violence against women. It must end, and this Sunday marks to the perfect day to combat the myth and renew our commitment to creating futures without violence for all of our children.

For more information about the Super Bowl myth, visit Futures Without Violence.

Kiersten Stewart is the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for Futures Without Violence.

To learn more about the Violence Against Women Act, join the VAWA Twitter Chat on February 11 at 2 p.m. EST using the #VAWAchat hashtag. – See more at: YWCA.
This post is originally published on YWCA and is cross posted with permission.
Photo credit: Anderson Mancini via Flickr


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  • According to the media hype There was supposed to be hundreds of thousands of under age child sex slaves kidnapped and forced to have sex with super bowl fans. At the Dallas Super Bowl 2011. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL OF THEM?????

    It was all a big lie told by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, government officials, and various anti-prostitution groups: Traffick911, Not for Sale, Change-org, A Future Not A Past, Polaris Project, Salvation Army, Women’s Funding Network, and the Dallas Women’s Foundation, which are anti-prostitution groups that tell lies in order to get grant money from the government and charities to pay their high salaries, and get huge amounts of money into their organizations.

    As proved in the link below:
    Top FBI agent in Dallas (Robert Casey Jr.) sees no evidence of expected spike in child sex trafficking:

    “Among those preparations was an initiative to prevent an expected rise in sex trafficking and child prostitution surrounding the Super Bowl. But Robert Casey Jr., special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas office, said he saw no evidence that the increase would happen, nor that it did.

    “In my opinion, the Super Bowl does not create a spike in those crimes,” he said. “The discussion gets very vague and general. People mixed up child prostitution with the term human trafficking, which are different things, and then there is just plain old prostitution.”


    This myth of thousands or millions of underage sex slaves tries to make every sports fan a sex criminal. No matter what the sport is, or in what country it is in.

    Brian McCarthy isn’t happy. He’s a spokesman for the NFL. Every year he’s forced to hear why his customers are adulterers and child molesters. Brian McCarthy says the sport/super bowl sex slave story is a urban legend, with no truth at all.

    The idea of people getting the wrong information and believing lies, is bad. No matter what the topic is. The Sex trafficking, slavery issue is one of the biggest lies being told today. It is amazing to me how people will believe such lies so easily. The media is to blame for this. I wonder why they feel such a need to report wrong stats, numbers and information about this topic without doing proper research.

    While this may happen in very rare limited situations, the media will say that millions of people are sex slaves without doing any real research on the topic. Only taking the word of special interest anti-prostitution groups which need to generate money in the form of huge government grants from taxpayers, and charities. These “non profit” group’s employees make huge salaries, therefore they need to lobby the government, and inflate and invent victims in order to get more money into their organizations. If you look into how many real kidnapped forced against their will sex slaves there are, and not just take the anti-prostitution groups word for it. You will be very surprised.
    Where are all the forced sex slaves? I would like to meet the millions of slaves and see for myself if they were kidnapped and forced against their will.

    These groups lobby the government in a big way, getting Politicians to truly believe their lies. This is an attempt to over inflate an issue in order to get more government money to these organizations. As a tax payer, voter, and resident I don’t want the government to mislead me.

    I would like to see a news organization do a full report on the lies, myths and exaggerated numbers being told about sex trafficking slaves. The articles about the super bowl sex slaves, has been proved wrong many times, but news organizations still report about it, as if it were fact.

    Research report on sorting out the myths and facts about sex trafficking at sporting events: