*!*Trigger Warning: Sensitive Topics*!*
A movement happened on social media that was against physical, sexual and emotional abuse people faced in wrestling that was later called #SpeakingOut.
Just take a second and read those words again.
Everyone has came across tweets of either victims sharing their story or fans being angry and many others… but for how much was shared was frankly embarrassing and distressing. From abuse of power, uncomfortable messages to literal paedophilia and rape, it is a travesty what many people have unfortunately experienced. There were so many stories shared, I am not condoning those who lied or twisted their stories, but the majority amount of experiences spoken by brave trainees, wrestlers, crew and fans was too many to be ignored.
To put it simply, in June there were less repercussions for victims to share their stories. They couldn’t be thrown out of training schools, taken off shows, hell, even physically abused for stating what had happened to them. The backlash from the internet was more than enough, never mind having to go through more than that.
Why are we still talking about it?
That was in June and it is now December. Six whole months. Victims have been living with their experiences from weeks to years. The reason it is still being talked about as there are more repercussions for victims than there are for the abusers. That isn’t even just in wrestling, in the real world victims can get into more bother for sharing their story than the abuser that caused them harm. We’ve seen the news stories, where rapists get community service because they have a “bright future” and it makes you angry, right? We all get angry in that serious situation about there being no repercussions for their actions BUT rarely people will think about the victim. That outrage will stay with you, you may remember it time to time and feel the same. With that same though process a victim is thinking about that outrage almost every single day.
So, what now?
Well, now we get to the point. The worst part is over for the victims themselves, they opened themselves up to the world. They’ve exposed what has happened to them as well as faced the backlash as a result. This is where that hard work starts. What happens now is wrestling as a collective have to realise there are strength in numbers. Don’t buy the abusers t-shirt, don’t go to the show if they’re promoting an abuser, make your voice count.
Wrestling, until now, had been untouchable. The horrible attitude and actions that has resulted because of people not being held accountable for their actions is no longer okay. No more boys clubs, no more keeping quiet to stay in the good books, if you’re having to do that then it is not worth it. Stand up for yourself, your friends, and the victims. Help make wrestling a better and safer place for all the workers and fans alike! Everyone has their likes and dislikes when it comes to wrestling but I think we can all agree abuse of any kind has no place anymore.
We stood up and spoke out, now is the time to make it matter.