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#metoo - H/J World

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  • #21
    In North America (at least) pretty much every girl who attended public high school has been sexually harassed, at minimum.

    In North America, even today, most sexual harassment is brushed off as a joke, or "inadvertent" (he didn't mean it like that), or the women being overly sensitive.

    In North America young people are taught that sexual harassment is a normal and acceptable interaction. Popular culture in music, film, and the example set by fathers and mothers provide strong training that is backed up by peer pressure.

    We don't see most of these influences most of the time, and this makes it harder for parents and society to correct and counter it.

    ?????Check out this five minute film "Dear Daddy" -it's a bit sobering.

    I too boarded at a barn with a questionable BO, though it never got past verbal "joking" and "compliments".


    • #22
      ToastieOaties touching you in an unwanted manner is crossing a line. Just because he did not touch a specific area does not justify what he did. I am really sorry that he abused that power dynamic and led you to feel uncertain about your right to speak up. What he did was inappropriate and a gross abuse of power. Unfortunately, I think many people are survivors of similar situations.

      I am glad to see the #metoo conversation extending into this world as well. I wish that the equine industry was a universal safe space but it is not. It is something that we need to bring into the light and address.


      • #23
        My daughter came home from WEF in late January. She went down to groom for someone who promised to my face to look out for her, house her with women only, etc. I should have known based on reputation but thought because of the wealth and name she was going down with people who were responsible. It is not my story to tell so I will not get into specifics but I hope some day she will tell everyone what went down. The whole thing was horrible, and it almost broke her.
        If you love me let me go....


        • #24
          "safe Sport " rule will do nothing and impact those of us who self care at shows and sign as our own trainer.

          This is not a modern phenomena it is something that has been going on for years, as the older ones of us here can tell you. It has nothing to do with modern society music rap ( nice veiled bigotry on that one) or anything other than a eons old held belief that women are lesser and here to be submissive

          and same sex harassment does exist, in both genders, do not be fooled.
          -- * > hoopoe
          Procrastinate NOW
          Introverted Since 1957


          • #25
            I am so pleased to see this thread. I was assaulted by one of the industry's most notorious horse killers. To this day, and with a different screen name, I am afraid to say his name. Same crap, the guy dies and EVERYONE wanted to whitewash his deeds.


            • #26
              Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

              I also wonder if rap culture has worked a bit to normalize male hostility and aggression among teens.
              Could be rap culture that normalized male agression. OR, could be that half the country enthusiastically voted for a man who likes to grab women by the p*ssy. Maybe people, both men and women, haven't valued women as equals to men since the beginning of time. Or, maybe like you said, it's the black man's fault.


              • #27
                Ahhh....some of the worst offenders are hardly listening to rap music if it even existed when they were in their prime, nor do they need additional inspiration, Taking advantage in the way some entrusted with acting as mentors in the best interests of the young people who look up to them have always acted. Using their position as trusted mentors, coaches and educators for sexual gratification...because they can.

                Two things stand out to me, first the number of them that are/were married whose wives HAD to know...including some who started as victims who married the offenders under the noses of the previous wife. Had one acquaintance whose 16 year old sister was messing around with her 46 year old married trainer, he divorced and married her when she turned 18. Two years later she caught him in the camper with a 15 year old. Others who were involved on various levels found themselves discarded fairly soon after as the scumbags moved on to the next. Grew up with swimmers as BFFs, they saw the same things. But nobody ever spoke up.

                The other thing I the only one who was around leading BNs but not messed with who mentioned that fact to others and got the retort I wasn't pretty enough or rich enough for him to mess with? How sick is that for any woman in any sport or profession? And women in ALL sports need to come forward, Young men who were abused by mentors, coaches and teachers too. Much of what they've endured goes way past a few stupid, tasteless remarks nobody should have to shrug off into the realm of physically taking advantage of their position of power.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                • #28
                  Originally posted by marginall View Post

                  Could be rap culture that normalized male agression. OR, could be that half the country enthusiastically voted for a man who likes to grab women by the p*ssy. Maybe people, both men and women, haven't valued women as equals to men since the beginning of time. Or, maybe like you said, it's the black man's fault.
                  Interesting. Up here in western Canada there's not a lot of black people, but there are a lot of white kids and Asian kids that absorb attitude from American popular culture. White kids having pimps n hos themed parties out in the burbs.

                  Well, our burbs are actually full of drug dealing gang culture and it's interestingly multicultural, but it's not black American. The Hell's Angels are still key players and they are very white.

                  However, I do think that while punk and grunge music still privileged male experience, because it was less highly sexualized there were ways for women to participate in it without sexualizing themselves. And those genres of music had very little overt aggression against women. House and rave which came next was pretty egalitarian in content too.

                  I do feel we have gone back a few steps when I see TV reports of ypung women being groped on transit and afraid to move or do anything about it. It seems to me lots of the girls targeted are Asian but it's also true they are a huge chunk of the demographic. Somehow they missed the scream run cause a ruckus and this is my body self defense for kids that I remember being put into action in the 1980s. Of course they are far too young for that. And their parents might be immigrants who missed that message too.

                  I don't know if it's specifically rap influence or a combination of things.

                  My mother who was a teen in world War 2 says it's because the USA has been at war for so long, basically 16 years now. She says during every war the skirts get shorter, the men more aggressive, the general atmosphere raunchier.

                  But obviously it's something still central to our culture. Rap misogyny wouldn't find fans in the white and Asian burbs if it wasn't speaking to existing already held attitudes.


                  • #29
                    I am pretty certain that the rap culture had nothing to do with the pig who assaulted me. Let's put this blame where it belongs. There is no legal or moral defense for rape.


                    • #30
                      Let's keep the more general discussion/debate re: this issue to the OT forum and keep this thread more focused on its relevance to the horse industry/culture.

                      Mod 1


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
                        ToastieOaties touching you in an unwanted manner is crossing a line. Just because he did not touch a specific area does not justify what he did. I am really sorry that he abused that power dynamic and led you to feel uncertain about your right to speak up. What he did was inappropriate and a gross abuse of power. Unfortunately, I think many people are survivors of similar situations.

                        I am glad to see the #metoo conversation extending into this world as well. I wish that the equine industry was a universal safe space but it is not. It is something that we need to bring into the light and address.
                        Thank you GraceLikeRain, that really means a lot and is comforting.

                        I think it's really important to extend the conversation into the horse world, because I think just like in Hollywood, it helps us take control back by exposing the things done in the safety of secret. Perhaps if we talk about this stuff more it will change the power dynamic, and perhaps it will encourage each other to step forward and say something. I'm still ashamed that I never stood up for myself, and I think I just didn't know how, and was worried about the fallout.


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by In The Shadows View Post
                          I am pretty certain that the rap culture had nothing to do with the pig who assaulted me. Let's put this blame where it belongs. There is no legal or moral defense for rape.
                          Yep, exactly. The pig who assaulted me was in his 60s at the time and is pushing 80 now. Toxic masculinity was around long before rap music.
                          Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
                          My equine soulmate
                          Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


                          • #33
                            When I started going to horse shows in the 1960s there was a prominent jumper rider in his 40s who was known to "like 'em young". The incidents I heard about were "consensual" but since the girls were 14, 15, 16, it all seemed really creepy to me (I was a teenager too). It was a very open secret at the time.


                            • #34
                              I do think one of the reasons that girls don't speak up is that we are in a culture that normalizes this kind of behavior, and I do feel we have lost ground on this over the past couple of decades. If we are past the age of attracting this kind of attention, like me, it's easy to think it has just disappeared, but we need to be vigilant to watch out for young women who are vulnerable.

                              And if we are still potential targets, we need to be less nice. I think a huge problem is that well brought up young women are taught, by and large, to put a priority on whether people like them and whether they are pleasing people. And they end up in situations where a good deal of the inclusion, preferment, and benefits require not rocking the boat, and being pleasant to those in authority.

                              Young women need to be taught to trust their gut instinct that things are not OK, and to scream, kick, and run if things escalate. A responsible adult male educator is not going to be even starting towards anything creepy, and that involves giving massages, telling you to be less uptight, etc.

                              It's true, a certain number of underage girls are going to engage consensually, but that it is still a very bad situation. The girls might not think so at the time, but very often they do think that later on, and they also question whether it was truly consensual or if the older man just lied and emotionally manipulated them.


                              • #35
                                I am going to take advantage of the thin veneer of anonymity of my alter on COTH to respond.

                                I was routinely groped and assaulted by the husband of my boss as a teen. I never, ever considered reporting it to anyone.

                                I knew with absolute certainty that if I said something at home, my staunchly Catholic parents would have blamed me. If would have been about my jeans being too tight, the rest of my clothing choices, how I acted, about anything and everything but a middle aged married man who followed a 15 year old around at work to pin her in dark corners.

                                I wanted to tell my boss, whom I liked and considered a friend, but I knew that she already knew he was an unfaithful bum and chose to stay with him, so the only result of letting her know would be my losing a friend and also probably losing my job.

                                So I stayed quiet and tried to avoid him. Not entirely successfully. I started having my boyfriend, who had a car, pick me up and give me rides home from work, because the suggestion that the abuser drive me home became increasingly difficult to navigate.

                                At one point, upon asking for a ride home, the boyfriend looked at me quizzically and said "The husband getting to be a problem for you?" I just nodded. And nothing else was said, though he did provide the rides.

                                That's how normalized it was. That was what was expected. That it wasn't reasonable for me at 15 to get a ride home from my bosses' husband without being harassed.

                                I do think there's power in talking about it.
                                Last edited by McGurk; Nov. 2, 2017, 12:50 PM.
                                The plural of anecdote is not data.


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by LaurieB View Post
                                  When I started going to horse shows in the 1960s there was a prominent jumper rider in his 40s who was known to "like 'em young". The incidents I heard about were "consensual" but since the girls were 14, 15, 16, it all seemed really creepy to me (I was a teenager too). It was a very open secret at the time.
                                  That prominent rider is guilty of statutory rape. It is heartbreaking to think that those around him downplayed this serious crime.

                                  The concept of "consent" is something that we really need to reconstruct as a society. An absence of saying no does not equal consent. I firmly believe we need to teach people about the concept of enthusiastic consent. Both parties are actively seeking the interaction, have full knowledge and acceptance of all potential consequences, feel comfortable voicing desired or concerns at any point in the interaction, and slowing down or stopping it is honored without question. This is something that can only take place between two adults with full mental faculties.

                                  When a child or person with mental exceptionalities is involved they cannot give consent. They are legally deemed incapable of understanding the full weight of the potential emotional, physical, and psychological consequences of the situation. Unique privileges or affection granted to victims by an adult perpetrator further complicate the dynamic and can lead to future feelings of confusion or shame that are not theirs to bear.

                                  Society talks about "fight or flight" but we rarely discuss the far more common response of freezing.

                                  This is even more common when there is a power dynamic like a parent-child or a coach-student relationship. The survivor has likely been taught growing up to respect, obey, submit to the will of adults. Survivors of assault often share that they feel guilty or ashamed for not fighting because we don't discuss that freezing is just as clear or a signal that there is not mutual consent. If the other person is actively and enthusiastically seeking consent there is zero excuse or space for the perpetrator "not knowing".


                                  • #37
                                    First of all thank you to everyone who has shared their stories. I agree 100% there is power in talking about it. That's the only way we can see a change in the world and our industry.

                                    I am in the process of collecting stories and experiences for an upcoming article on the MeToo Movement in the Horse Industry. This will be published in Canadian Horse Journal by our writer Margaret Evans. I am just wondering if anyone out there would be willing to share their experiences with us? It can be done anonymously and we can change names to protect identities. Many people haven't been willing to speak to us, which is their choice, but it would be great to include some personal stories. Almost all of us have them - as someone who has worked in the industry since I was a kid I have shared mine.

                                    I think this is a really important thing that needs to be brought into the light in our industry and would really appreciate any feedback. You can email me at or through our Facebook page:

                                    Thank you!


                                    • #38
                                      Just look at all the horsemen who have serially married their teenage students. That used to be practically expected.

                                      I encourage everyone to read the accounts from swimming and gymnastics. Our sport is a little less vulnerable, but only just. The power dynamics can be the same. The older man who could be your key to the big time, who tells you you are "something special." The sense that only this one person can do this for you. The desire to please that person.

                                      As a 4-H volunteer, I do trainings that I imagine are similar to the Safe Sport ones. I think what they have done for me is to make me aware of how easy it is to look the other way when something seems not quite right, and provide me with on the spot readiness to intervene and also report. These trainings can be online and don't have to be onerous to experience. A couple hours of your time, and the next time you see an adult man carrying a 14 year old "playfully" over his shoulder, maybe you'll be ready to act, whether you're a judge, a trainer, or an amateur. I reported that situation to someone who solved it, but I'm not proud of the fact that I froze in the moment and didn't just stop it myself.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                                      • #39
                                        My view is that harassment/assault is pervasive in the industry. Horse crazy young girls who idolize their trainers/older riders.....parents who drop off their kids at the barn assuming that it's just "all about the horses".....not to mention the drugs and alcohol.....a set up for real problems.


                                        • #40
                                          I thought this was interesting when it came through my inbox (see linked article). Specifically this part, "the bill extends the mandatory duty to report to US Equestrian members and participants, who must report suspected sexual abuse to authorities within 24 hours. An individual who does not report the suspected sexual abuse is subject to criminal penalties" (emphasis added).

                                          We are now all mandatory reporters of suspected sexual abuse, but I'm not sure how many people noticed or understood the implications of this change.

                                          Senate Bill 534, Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 has been signed into law, becoming effective immediately.