Rape Culture and Skateboarding: together we can push to end sexual violence

Content warning for rape and sexual violence

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Skating isn’t immune to the problems and prejudices of society at large. I know that sounds obvious, but I think it’s something that a lot of us would rather not think about while we’re busy having fun on our boards – especially for those who view skating as an escape.

However, with the recent news that has shaken the community, particularly in Ireland and Barcelona, we must think more critically about the culture that has led to recently uncovered events regarding the rape of a female skater in 2017.

Since an initial statement made by the victim was shared on Instagram, several other women and girls have come forward detailing similar experiences. Thankfully these girls have been met with an overwhelming amount of support from the community, all of whom have made clear there is no space for rape, sexual or emotional abuse in abuse in skateboarding. This includes statements from Vague magazine, The Skateboarder’s Companion, and Dolores.

I truly hope that the conversations this has sparked in the community over the past few weeks can be a starting point for real and meaningful change. How can we sit around and say that skateboarding is a supportive and inclusive space if we don’t take preventive action to ensure the safety of all skaters?

We need to do more, because people shouldn’t be subject to abusive and traumatic experiences in the first place. As Consent is Rad’s (@consent_is_rad) recent campaign states, ‘we don’t need to be perfect, but it is our responsibility to push toward progress.’

This responsibility is on everyone. Sadly, we live in a world where there are some men who will listen to what other men have to say about women before women themselves. There’s a reason ‘I have a boyfriend’ is a more effective creep deterrent than ‘I’m not interested.’ We need guys to be part of the dialogue with women and non-binary people so we can all work together to end rape culture in skateboarding.

For further information on consent by skaters for skaters, see Consent is Rad’s Instagram account.

Talk to your friends, call people you see being uncool on their behaviours, and make it known it’s absolutely unacceptable. Above all, believe survivors, be kind, and look out for each other. At the end of the day we’re all just riding around on a glorified plank of wood, let’s work together to foster an environment everyone feels comfortable skating in.

If you have been affected by sexual violence or harassment of any kind, or are interested in learning how to support those affected, please see the below charities and resources:

Rape Crisis – information and support

England and Wales          https://rapecrisis.org.uk/

Scotland                             https://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/

Northern Ireland               https://rapecrisisni.org.uk/

Ireland                                https://www.rcni.ie/

Mind – information and support

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/abuse/

The Survivor’s Trust – a national umbrella service that can refer survivors to local specialist services

https://www.thesurvivorstrust.org/

Cover art courtesy of Will Johnstone for Consent is Rad.

https://consentisrad.wordpress.com/

https://www.willjohnstoneart.com/(

One thought on “Rape Culture and Skateboarding: together we can push to end sexual violence

  1. Hitting the “like” button didn’t seem appropriate, but it’s saddening and shocking this happens, but also, that a lot of us are oblivious to it 😦 like @GirlsAgainst about the abuse women are subjected to at gigs, I was shocked, especially when some female friends told me they’ve been groped at gigs.

    I used to skate years ago, and now have 2 young girls who I try to encourage to embrace skateboarding, which has got me in to the “girl” scene. Hopefully there’s other blokes reading this, saddened as I am, but would step in and do the right thing, and have this “conversation”. Education, and not turning a blind eye and not letting these things happen has to happen.

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