Yesterday, the WFTDA, MRDA, and JRDA published a statement of anti-abuse that ended in a call to action.
What we have not done is clearly communicate that exclusion, abuse, harassment, and discrimination are not tolerable.
It is time to do so.
To our friends who have been made to feel marginalized, or unsure of your place in the sport of roller derby, you are absolutely valued and wanted. To those of you who are survivors, we believe you.
While many in our community have extolled these organizations for visibly recognizing the issue and taking action, others are left with a sense of cynicism.
We at IHID remain cautiously optimistic. The discussion has begun and now we have work to do.
Here on some suggestions on how to get started:
- Start a discussion with your league. If you are unsure of how to do that, reach out to the experts. There are many domestic violence organizations who would be happy to come in and help facilitate those discussions.
- Think about your organization’s mission statement. It is to foster inclusion? Do you want to create safe spaces? Work with your boards to draft language that will guide your actions.
- Think about and then draft zero-tolerance policies that seek to provide safety for those who come forward but that also offer due process to those accused.
- Provide support for those who have experiences to share. Even if it is hard to hear, listen to them without judgement. Let them speak. Be sure to listen.
In the coming days, weeks, and months, IHID aims to provide more concrete suggestions and examples of how to make your space a safe space.
To those who have come forward, thank you. To those who have suffered in silence, we see you, too. You are not alone.