Anonymous: Washington, USA

In October 2018, we received correspondence regarding sexual assault committed by a member of Palouse River Rollers (PRR). At the time, our content editor was on a medical leave, which accounts for the delay in posting this. Since October, we have received more correspondence containing information regarding PRR’s policies and information regarding how PRR handled a complaint of sexual assault.

Specifically, we were copied on correspondence between the author of this post; the league’s Conflict Resolution Committee (CRC); and what appears to be a league member who had contacted the CRC in support of the author of this post. Though there contains an admission by the CRC that a full investigation had NOT taken place, the remedy offered to the author of this post was to submit an appeal.

Correspondence also revealed that PRR had posted on Facebook that the case against the alleged abuser had been closed and that the league was “moving on.” The author of this post emailed the league demanding a retraction of PRR’s post and a public acknowledgement that the case had not been investigated. Though PRR removed the post, it does not appear that any further comment was made regarding this matter on PRR’s social media.

This is the first of what may ultimately be several posts regarding PRR. If you have any feedback (positive or negative) or information you would like to share, please reach out to us at info@ithappensinderby.com

I was sexually assaulted by a male derby coach associated with the Palouse River Rollers (PRR). The veracity of my very valid allegations aside, the league has really been pretty terrible. They’ve kept the issue quiet, always found a way to evade dealing with the issue in any real way (the largest being that it didn’t happen on derby time or property–like he would have to assault me in a narrow window of time and space for it to count or make him less of a potential threat to other players).

They stated he hadn’t signed their code of conduct and wasn’t really affiliated with them so they couldn’t limit his involvement or hold him accountable in any way, then proceeded to have him sign a code of conduct so he is affiliated with them. I could never go back to derby because a hostile environment had been created for me. I didn’t want to go through the criminal process for my own reasons being familiar with how re-traumatizing that process can be. The league never did an investigation, never even engaged with me for a full conversation on the matter, and I resigned myself to the idea that I just didn’t matter. It was becoming all to familiar following the incident. I went through a slew of personal issues and was diagnosed with PTSD before I started to claw myself out of the low i discovered so intimately. I finally recovered and changed my life, including my state.

[In late September 2018], I encountered another girl with a sexual harassment claim she had taken to the league regarding a male coach. We shared stories with each other. It was powerful and validating as she had gone through a lot of what I had. A third former league member asked to write and post our stories. They hit Facebook and it was both heartening and heartbreaking. A few members have taken a stand, though the majority did so privately.

In my case: my accuser denied the allegation. His post got drastically more support than the post made on both my and new friend’s behalf. The author has been attacked and vilified, but she has remained stalwart in her defense of our voices.

The league issued an invalidating statement and actually claimed the matters had been investigated. No investigation I’m aware of ever took place relating to my sexual assault allegation. I brought that fact to a league board member–the only one who reached out to me, though it was privately–acknowledged no investigation took place. She attributed the statement to incorrect wording, though this does not match the other statements made [regarding] the revived allegations. I requested a retraction and a new [social media] post from the league stating they could neither deny nor confirm the veracity of my claims as no investigation had taken to place. This was needed as others used that league statement to invalidate what I’d been through, stating it’d been disproved.

I have cried myself to sleep or just plain not slept. My anxiety pounds in my head. I question whether I have any worth.

I deserve so much better than to be dismissed, than to be subjected to statements that devalue me. My two friends don’t deserve the abuse and hostility heaped upon them for calling out something they rightly see as hurtful and held out to the public in a way that is beyond mischaracterizing.

I worry that derby attracts the misfits like me, tough on the outside but with deep vulnerabilities (like any human) and I worry PRR is enabling predators to continue to harm members with impunity because it fits the narrative those in power choose.

Derby is supposed to be better than this. I hope the league too can become what it purports to be. I hope that the league realizes that it is bigger than petty cliques and popularity contests, entrenched loyalties and personal vendettas. The league can outlast every single player and it should aim to be an entity that truly deserves to last.

I feel sad and I feel less safe in the world tonight, and it’s not because I was raped.

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