I didn’t want to write this.
No one wants to have to be the person who writes this. The person who this happened to. I am doing this now because I have nothing left to lose. I was told by Rose City’s representatives that I could not come forward publicly about this because it would violate league policy and I would be suspended; the first of many ways Rose City silences victims and survivors. I have now been banned from the league after a biased investigation, done by people who have a financial interest in keeping the person who abused me and their partner in the league.
Having a famous skater is more important to Rose City than doing what is right.
I am coming forward not because I actually think it will do anything for me other than perhaps hopefully being cathartic. I am doing this because Rose City needs to be held accountable for their actions, so that others who are victims have a safe space to come forward. I am doing this so that others, and our next generation of skaters, will hopefully never have to endure the trauma and re-traumatization I have been through.
I was sexually harassed by my coach last year. I was verbally abused by my coach last year. I was bullied and shamed and coerced into silence by my coach last year.
When I found out this person was going to be skating with me instead of merely coaching and I would have no way to escape from their hands I panicked. All the trauma I had pushed down for over a year came bubbling to the surface. As a victim of sexual assault, any type of unwanted touching, especially from someone who is presenting themselves as masculine, is traumatic for me. Asking that person to stop and not having that be respected is traumatic to the point of triggering PTSD. I am pretty sure I lived my entire Derby life last year in a state of PTSD-induced mania. I pushed many of my friends away and became a sad, angry shell of myself.
I am going to try to present these facts as a timeline, I am trying to illustrate the ways this was mishandled by Rose City from the very beginning. For the purpose of readability, I am going to refer to the person who harassed and abused me as “X” for the rest of this article.
When the reality of having to be on a team with X sank in after tryouts for Wheels of Justice I realized that I had to do something. At the recommendation of the Wheels captain, I went to the league with my story.
Rose City had recently come forward with a statement against Sexual harassment and Abuse. In it the instructions were to call the president of the league if the details of what happened to you were sensitive. After calling her I was told to email the accountability committee for next steps.
I sent the accountability committee a brief email with limited details of the abuses I had suffered. I told them that I was afraid of retribution from X and that myself and other teammates had been gaslit and manipulated by this person.
They responded by telling me they had forwarded my email to X.
They forwarded my email reporting being abused and harassed to X.
They then let X retaliate against me in the form of a counter-complaint, without informing me of the contents of the counter-complaint.
X also used this time to find ways to discredit and undermine me to ensure that when the AC committee performed their investigation, it would come out in X’s favor.
From there I was pressured into mediating with X.
The mediation was run by league volunteers who had no professional experience as mediators. X focused most of the mediation on me and the ways I am flawed as a person. X also told me I was making this up and that some of the things that had happened to me had really happened between X and other teammates. X also said they couldn’t apologize for their “style of coaching”. These are all gaslighting techniques and the mediators did nothing to stop them.
When I told the AC committee about the way mediation went poorly and asked them to move forward with their investigation they informed me I couldn’t include anything in my complaint that had happened over 21 days ago.
I had informed the AC committee that I did not feel comfortable reporting any of this while X was coach because of my fear of retribution and they did not pay me any heed.
Meanwhile X continued to intimidate and harass me and my wife at practices and team events.
When I reached out to the ac committee and the league president I was told they could not offer any sort of protection from X.
The league president recommended I seek a restraining order from the Portland police.
An advocate from the police reviewed my situation and recommended I get a sexual abuse protective order from our local courthouse. The SAPO is intended to protect people from any kind of repeated unwanted touching. After this recommendation I met with a judge and the SAPO was granted.
The terms of the SAPO stopped X from attending any Derby events I was at.
The retaliation from the Wheels of Justice team was swift. I was told to come to a team meeting at which I was pressured out of skating at the upcoming Big O.
Several of X’s friends suddenly had stories of me being a bully that they had not told anyone about or tried to come to me about previously.
I received texts from ex-friends as well as a call from X’s lawyer telling me that I was, “digging my own grave” and that If I didn’t drop this they would tell everyone I was making things up.
Because I was obviously not going to return to WOJ after all of this, I met with my lawyer and decided I didn’t need a SAPO as long as I had an agreement that X would leave me alone. This was the biggest mistake I’ve made in this story.
The AC committee released the findings of their investigation while I was still in legal negotiations with X; effectively ruining any chance I had of being protected. Their findings sided with X mainly because they did not speak with any of my witnesses.
Additionally X’s partner had threatened to leave the league if I remained on RCR.
When I asked the AC committee to reconsider their decision the League decided to kick me out and ban me from the hangar rather than talk to my witnesses.
When I came forward about what happened to me I had hope that I would be believed and listened to. Now I have lost my team, I have been betrayed by friends, and I have lost my community. I just want this to be known so that others who have experienced these things can feel validated and know that they are not alone.
I remember a time that I was on a team that wore purple and was named for something I could believe in. I don’t think that name is appropriate for the current incarnation of the team, but I will always stand for Justice, with or without my Wheels.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault there is hope.
I am here for you to listen to your story, to try to help you find a way to find relief and not lose everything. I will believe you. I will help you find resources in your community that will listen to you and believe you and help you. That is what I am offering.
For people in the U.S:
RAINN hotline (for survivors)
Women’s crisis Hotline