Arch Rival Roller Derby, like leagues the world over, is filled with people who devote their time, bodies, and passion to the sport we all love so much. It’s not easy to acknowledge that a space and community that are so important to us is not immune to the problems of the larger society.
The ongoing conversation about sexual harassment and assault, happening both globally and within the derby community, is one that we all need to participate in. We recognize that we all have growth to do.
Arch Rival has made a commitment to continuing to engage in this conversation and to work on ourselves as individuals and as a league. Two years ago, we started an Inclusion Committee at ARCH. Their recent work has included drafting a thorough sexual harassment and assault policy and working with our sibling league, GateKeepers Roller Derby, to finalize and implement that policy and related trainings.
Though a policy formalizes our dedication to making our spaces safer and more inclusive, we recognize that a policy is just the first step. If we truly love roller derby, there are meaningful actions we need to take as individuals and, as a community, make it a genuinely safe space.
- Believing and supporting survivors.
- False reports are incredibly rare and erring on the side of believing the accused makes it even harder for people to come forward.
- Making sure our actions aren’t contributing to an unsafe environment.
- If someone calls us out, we listen to them and consider what we can do in the future to make ourselves a safe resource.
- We use language that reflects the safe, inclusive world we want.
- We always seek affirmative consent in actions that may encroach on the boundaries of others.
- Speaking up when something happens.
- If our personal safety is not at risk, we step in and help someone who may be in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation.
- We respond to inappropriate sexual comments and jokes, letting people know that such comments have no place in our community.
- Being willing to hold people accountable, even when they are people we know and like and they’ve never done anything to us.
- Our experiences with someone may not match the experiences of others.
- In order to create the community we want, we must hold our peers accountable for their behavior toward everyone, not just ourselves.
We shouldn’t do these things just in our roller derby spaces or just because we want roller derby to be a welcoming space. We should do these things in every part of our lives because we all deserve a world in which everyone is truly safe.
Growth is uncomfortable but necessary. We have to admit our shortcomings and must continually work on improving our communities. This work can’t be done by individuals standing alone. Let’s start these conversations with not only our own league mates but with others across the derby community.
Our goal is to support each other but also to take action to hold each other accountable. Let’s not have these conversations in isolated bubbles. We welcome anyone in derby to reach out to us.
Let’s all collectively work together on this in order to create an environment that is safe and beneficial for all skaters, officials, coaches, volunteers and fans.
If your League would like guidance on how to construct/implement a policy for your own League, please feel free to contact us!
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