Jabber: Northwest USA

This post originally appeared on Jabber’s Facebook page on April 6, 2017; in it, she references Punchy O’s post, posted here on March 29, 2018. This is reprinted here with Jabber’s permission.

Rumors are how things get super screwed up. Has anyone even thought of reaching out to me to see what I actually want? Nah. That would be logical. I’m sure I’ll catch most of the fallout, though.

To be clear: I had NOTHING to do with Rat’s decision about Dell. I had no idea anything was even happening til the email in February (which I then left alone once I replied saying I’d seen it) and then I found out about the decision through the article posted on IHID. I literally found out *today* that he’d retired. I never asked for him to be pulled from Rat (or Jet, for that matter), nor did I ask for him to be pulled from The Big O.

The problem here isn’t actually Dell. It’s not even about my safety (which everyone seemed so keen to say they cared about when it all went down, hence the confidentiality, and we all saw how that worked out). This is about how the leagues handled the situation at the time.

The fact that WFTDA had all of the facts (my statement, the statements of 3 certified male referees who were witnesses, etc) and chose to punish him to the fullest extent they were capable of (WFTDA doesn’t have the power to ban someone from individual leagues, fyi) should have said something to the local leagues. They should have taken that as, “Oh shit, this is something we should take seriously, too.” But no. They chose to “protect me” and not even tell the BOD the full details, leading them to make a decision to slap on the wrist and move on. I was then essentially given an ultimatum: Accept that I would be officiating with him so I could continue officiating at a high level so I could apply for certification, or get out. So I sucked it up and said it was fine. Because I wanted cert. Because I knew he was welcome no matter what, so I had to shut up and deal.

Guess what? I kept on going. Kept officiating. That same year, my application for cert, which MORE than qualified me for Level 2 (a perfect score on the written and skating test, a skating history of MANY, MANY high level games, and recommendations from several certified officials I’d worked with) was denied. I got Level 1, which is/was essentially a slap in the face and a “well, you went to a WFTDA training so we can’t deny you this.” Meanwhile, I watched other officials who were no more qualified get their Level 2s in the months following. It was kind of the last straw for me. I knew I’d worked my ass off. This was just the nail in the coffin that solidified the fact that it was all a popularity contest. “It was my fault” that their buddy Dell lost his certification, so why did I deserve to have it?

Here’s the kicker. I retired. I no longer officiate. Did it kill me? Absolutely. But coming home from games where daggers were shot from the eyes of skaters and officials alike and crying in the shower til I felt okay enough to talk to my husband? That killed me more. That was *before* I publicly told folks what had happened to me. That was just the rumor mill.

Now, after 3 years, when I finally felt confident enough in how my life is going and my own personal strength to say something, I’m getting daggers for telling the truth. I’m getting folks standing up for me in both positive and negative ways. I’m having folks speak for me, which is good in some ways, and bad in others. I appreciate the support, I do. But still, no one has asked me to speak for myself in an official capacity. No one has asked me what I want.

I want everyone to feel safe in derby. I want folks to feel safe coming forward if, heaven forbid, they are sexually harassed or assaulted. Without fear of being chased out like I was. This isn’t about Dell. It isn’t about me. It’s about what the community sees. It’s about them seeing the victim get treated like garbage, and eventually chased out. It’s about seeing leagues stand up for people that are “good guys” who “never did anything like that to me.” Think about that for a minute. Maybe more than a minute. Think about what that says about our community. Then ask me what I want.



1 comment

  • I’m so sorry you went through this. I’m so sorry the people who should have had your back failed you, failed all of us. I’m so sorry you lost your community.
    I believe you, I hear you.
    I hope this opens the conversation for league accountability, especially leadership; I hope this encourages people to fight against the popularity contest that is the culture of derby; I hope this causes Rat to seriously examine past situations like this where they were more worried about the perpetrator than they were the victimized individua and the community at large.

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