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LPGA’s Sagstrom reveals childhood sexual abuse

10: 31 AM ET

  • Charlotte GibsonESPN

LPGA Tour participant Madelene Sagstrom first shared her secret 5 years ago. For 16 years, she acted love nothing had took whine. She immersed herself in golf, increasing an identification on the route.

But in March 2016, as she ready for a Symetra Tour tournament, Sagstrom couldn’t aid it in to any extent additional. She needed to delivery up about being sexually abused on the age of seven by an grownup male friend in Sweden.

In an LPGA Power On video feature released Monday, Sagstrom, 28, shared her narrative of childhood sexual abuse and the healing that took whine after she decided to chat about what took whine to her.

Madelene Sagstrom’s narrative is difficult to read, but crucial to hear. One in nine ladies underneath the age of 18 are sexually abused on the fingers of an grownup.

She shares her narrative here within the spirit of serving to others.

None of Us Are By myself | https://t.co/nFG6lw6mRZ#DriveOn pic.twitter.com/ilkJ5RZMAd

— LPGA (@LPGA) February 22, 2021

Sagstrom, who has been on the LPGA Tour since 2017 and obtained the 2020 Gainbridge LPGA, returns to that tournament starting Thursday at Lake Nona Golf & Nation Membership in Orlando, Florida.

Right via the strategy of serving to Sagstrom portion her narrative, LPGA officials converse they possess realized plenty and commenced conversations around what sources and toughen the tour has in whine for recent and future gamers in phrases of sexual abuse.

Roberta Bowman, the LPGA’s chief effect and communications officer, said that via LPGA/USA Women Golf, which reaches in relation to 100,000 ladies a twelve months, the tour wished to make certain that Women Golf leaders had the specified sources. The tour continues to practice the SafeSport protocol, and labored closely with RAINN, the National Sexual Assault Hotline, all the arrangement in which via the strategy of getting capable of advise Sagstrom’s narrative.

And this week, the LPGA will be sharing sources and toughen from RAINN to the USGA Women Golf leaders. Some of these sources consist of pointers for adults on guard younger other folks from sexual abuse, know the warning signs of grooming and social media safety.

Moreover, for the ladies, a number of of the sources will consist of what to construct if something took whine that made them in fact feel miserable or no longer proper.

Within the video and her accompanying first-particular person essay, Sagstrom explained how she first shared her narrative with her mentor, Robert Karlsson, a aged Ryder Cup participant who she had met via the Swedish National Team. After combating her feelings on the route, Sagstrom changed into to Karlsson for attend. In return, Karlsson encouraged her to dig deep and bear a stare at to figure out the foundation of her struggles.

“I had this narrate come up in my strategies. First and major, I did no longer order it changed into crucial. But it kept coming assist step by step,” Sagstrom said in her essay published on LPGA.com. “I knowing, ‘Presumably there’s something there. Presumably I must tranquil advise Robert.'”

While preparing for a tournament in Greenwood, South Carolina, Sagstrom suggested Karlsson she had been sexually abused as a child. Within the LPGA video, Sagstrom said telling Karlsson helped her in fact feel free.

“This changed into something I changed into by no methodology going to advise anybody,” Sagstrom said Sunday. “It changed into a memoir and it changed into an experience that changed into deeply hidden internal me, and I changed into by no methodology going to portion that with anybody, and I moral came to treasure once I started working with Robert, this has changed me. This has made me who I’m on the present time.”

Sagstrom obtained her first LPGA title on the Gainbridge LPGA final twelve months. Afterward, she published a letter to her youthful self on her Facebook web page, revealing more about her childhood and her walk to that time.

Sooner than that put up, Sagstrom said she additionally shared her narrative on Facebook in 2017. At that time, the LPGA changed into mindful of Sagstrom’s experience with sexual abuse. But up until then, the LPGA’s principal blueprint changed into to picture and provide protection to Sagstrom and her narrative.

“It changed into after Gainbridge final twelve months on the height of Madelene’s form of career success, and moral watching how she dealt with herself within the aftermath of that, the thoughtful solutions to the media questions, and then she did something very keen, and she posted on her Facebook web page a letter to petite Madelene, and that changed into the signal to us that there changed into a increasing sense of consolation in a broader sharing of this narrative,” Bowman said.

For more than a twelve months, the LPGA and Sagstrom possess labored together on revealing the entire narrative of Sagstrom’s past as fragment of its Power On initiatives.

“It be been an ongoing discipline,” Bowman said. “But we in fact needed to meet ourselves, each and every Madelene and the LPGA, that she changed into capable of construct this.”

Sagstrom said she feels capable of head public in an even bigger methodology with her narrative, and that her finest hope is she can attend others understand they’re no longer alone.

“Through the years, my platform has grown. Being a winner in 2020 has moral spread out the doorways that I do know that I will be able to portion more of myself, and it be going to reach more other folks,” Sagstrom said. “I figured it changed into the ultimate timing. The LPGA has been unbelievable with all of the toughen. We labored on this for a in fact very long time, and I order the timing is colossal. I moral wished to moral attend somebody available.”

In telling Sagstrom’s narrative, the LPGA hopes to electrify no longer easy but impactful conversations on and off the golf route.

“There are a lot of layers of this specific narrative,” Bowman said. “If your existence is touched with trauma, to possess that conversation and reach out to others. If that you simply must presumably well also presumably be lucky passable that that you simply must presumably well also honest were spared that, presumably you will secure your self within the position of Robert Karlsson and having to possess that judgment on the very moment, and to electrify that conversation around how can we treasure and toughen other folks going via their possess adjustments.”

With the publishing of Sagstrom’s Power On video, she said she needs the point of ardour to be on the steps she has taken since first sharing her secret and going public with her childhood sexual abuse. She additionally hopes that she in overall is a guiding light for others who could presumably well possess sources and toughen.

“I’m telling the narrative but what I must point of curiosity on and what I must portion with other folks is it be the steps that I’ve finished afterwards, the selections that I in fact possess decided to construct to develop,” Sagstrom said. “It be no longer about what took whine, it be about how did I develop out of this, how did I change into the version that I’m on the present time.”

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