Notorious Notes – Chapter 29
We are now a few weeks removed from the peak #SpeakingOut movement. But it is by design that I delayed writing a blog about it until now. The movement itself is vastly important and long overdue. As the wrestling business is notoriously seedy and sleazy, we as a community needed to take the trash out long ago. I thought it very important to shut up and make room for the survivor’s voices to be heard. And I refuse to believe that the movement is over because this is the second time (in recent memory) that something like this has happened in wrestling. And won’t be the last. Wrestling is terrible.
I think the nature of these kinds of mass movements where survivors come forward about their abuse and trauma, is that some survivors may not be as comfortable talking about their experiences at the time of the movement. They don’t owe anyone their stories and aren’t required to share if they don’t feel comfortable in doing so. But maybe, in a few months, maybe years down the road, they’ve had some time to process things. Should they want to share their story – it is our duty as a community. One to make an accepting, open, and comforting space for that person to speak, even if it’s not the trendy thing.
To borrow a phrase from the incredibly wise black leadership within the BLM movement, “this is a movement, not a moment.” Things will not – and should not, go back to normal after we’ve kicked out a few of the toxic folks. We, especially the men, need to be hyper-vigilant and aware of what’s going on around us and be willing to step in if something uncouth might be happening.
Wrestling is Terrible
We also need to support the survivors. Signal boost their stories and be ready for some hard conversations. And maybe some friends cutting a few ties, if necessary. I saw a lot of wrestlers saying “I will no longer be associated with X company, due to recent allegations” or whatever, which is great. That’s what they SHOULD do. And I’d honestly be worried about anyone who would choose to continue doing business with companies that knowingly harbored and hid predators within them for years.
But those announcements made by men who were doing exactly what should be expected of them received more praise – more likes, more retweets, and more interactions compared to the victims and that is not okay. We, as a community (and society in general), need to stop applauding men for doing the bare minimum (i.e., not raping, not associating with known predators). And start applauding, elevating, and supporting the victims who are strong enough to come forward. To come and share their traumatic stories.
Wrestling Is Terrible | Where to go from here?
These survivors are willingly forcing themselves to relive their past trauma in order to hold their abusers accountable. And hopefully prevent them from hurting another innocent soul. So I ask to stop patting men on the back for doing the bare minimum and start supporting women for speaking out against such a disgusting, predatory, misogynistic culture (in wrestling and in society at large).
I saw a lot of good change is promised. This includes more women in management roles at wrestling companies, some companies coming out with written codes of conduct. And a lot of promises to cut ties with toxic folks. However, the followthrough will be the important thing moving forward. I also saw some tragic discrediting of victims going on in the form of invalidating someone’s story because they tweeted about other things shortly after – as if someone’s trauma was less real because they tried to immediately forget the hard things they had to relive just to get their story out there, people saying “I hope it’s not true” because they’re fans of the accused’s work.
Separating the Art from The Artist
Though I understand there’s a weird conversation about “separating the art from the artist”, there are lines you do not cross. It is *extremely* disrespectful to the survivors for openly supporting their abuser even after hearing the awful stories about them.
As I said, this movement isn’t over. There will be many more survivors coming forward in the future, as the bad is slowly purged from the wrestling business. We need to be ready to give anyone strong enough to share their story the love and support they need. And cut the abusers out of the business. These abusers had their chance and they ruined it by being awful people. We all have a lot of work to do, but it’s necessary to work and we need to listen to survivors. Listen to women. Listen to BIPOC because we as a community (especially us cis white straight men) have a TON to learn. Wrestling is terrible.
WEAR A MASK!
The world is your burrito!
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