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#metoo - H/J World

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  • ToastieOaties
    started a topic #metoo - H/J World

    #metoo - H/J World

    With the #metoo campaign sweeping social media, it's clear that sexual assault and harassment exist in more than the entertainment industry.

    What are your experiences in our hunter/jumper world?

    I worked for a trainer in my early twenties who was handsy. He knew how to keep the lines blurred; he never actually outright touched my private anatomy, but he would come very close and let his hands linger there or rub for a while - put his hand on my upper ribcage almost on my boob, or up on my upper thigh, or deep on my lower back....almost directly inappropriate, but never actually crossing that line.

    I had such a bad feeling about it, but it was never illicit enough to call him out on it, and, as many females end up thinking, I wasn't sure whether it really qualified as being worth objecting to. But I knew it made me feel dirty and violated and while I could convince myself he didn't really mean anything by it, deep inside I knew exactly what he was doing. And to this day, I'm ashamed I never stood up for myself and said something. I remember being concerned enough that I checked the barn bathrooms for hidden cameras, and hating every second he was close.

    But even so, I didn't want to make a fuss, didn't want to be wrong, didn't want to get fired, didn't want to accuse him of something that he could easily say never crossed a line.

    What are your stories? Is there a "casting couch" in the horse world?

  • McGurk
    replied
    Ivy,

    I am so sorry, both for your experiences and for the reactions from people who should have known better.

    I have similar stories/memories.

    I wrote about one here on COTH after the first #MeToo stories broke.

    But the last month has been much harder on me; much more triggering.

    -I would never come forward and accuse my assailants, mostly because I fear the public humiliation and persecution that would follow.
    and
    So hearing the venom spewed on national news and social media was really hard on me.
    Exactly.

    I did talk about things that happened to me as a child when I was in my late 20s. I was in therapy at the time. My family had a really hard time processing it and said some really regrettable things. Shortly after I started talking about it; there was a lot of news about "recovered memories" and therapists planting false memories. I am pretty certain that everyone I told seized on that explanation; that it hadn't really happened, that I had been manipulated by the therapist.

    I decided to let them believe that. In my experience, talking about it was not helpful or therapeutic or cathartic or anything positive. I know what happened and that's enough.

    Leave a comment:


  • englishivy
    replied
    Originally posted by fair judy View Post
    Thought I would check in here and see if anyone else is experiencing trigger issues with the national news recently? I do NOT want to get into the politics of it, but I am genuinely having some personal problems. I have support to talk with, but I am hoping that anyone else who may be having trouble will call out for help. This past week has been like a nightmare for me.

    I've been away from COTH for a bit and by chance stopped back by and found this thread. I've read it a few times but didn't want to post until now.

    I'm working on being vocal about my experiences, and it's a work in progress. But I can say many, many difficult conversations happened over the last few weeks due to the current social climate of late. Conversations like:

    -I would never come forward and accuse my assailants, mostly because I fear the public humiliation and persecution that would follow.

    -I don't remember all the details: I don't remember the face of my predator when I was 4 yr old, but I remember my wall paper, where the closet was located, and what he did to me. I don't remember the names of the boys who assaulted me throughout my 8th grade year, but I can remember their hair color and one of the shirts I was wearing when it happened. I voluntarily switched schools 18 mths later, never to see them again.

    -I didn't share my experiences with anyone until 10 years after, told a counselor and my hubby at 20 years after, and other close family members at 34 years after the first incident. Every one of them was shocked and had no idea I bore such a heavy secret.

    -when I did share my experiences, some replied with "you're blowing things out of proportion" and "quit being dramatic". Please refer to #1 in the aforementioned list.

    So hearing the venom spewed on national news and social media was really hard on me.


    Leave a comment:


  • oneequestrienne
    replied
    Originally posted by fair judy View Post
    Thought I would check in here and see if anyone else is experiencing trigger issues with the national news recently? I do NOT want to get into the politics of it, but I am genuinely having some personal problems. I have support to talk with, but I am hoping that anyone else who may be having trouble will call out for help. This past week has been like a nightmare for me.
    I understand. That week was difficult for me also. I also have support and am doing much better now. I have also worried about others.

    Leave a comment:


  • oneequestrienne
    replied
    Originally posted by foursocks View Post

    For many, if not most, victims of sexual assault nothing is ever "dead and buried."
    I speak from my own experience.

    Leave a comment:


  • fair judy
    replied
    Thought I would check in here and see if anyone else is experiencing trigger issues with the national news recently? I do NOT want to get into the politics of it, but I am genuinely having some personal problems. I have support to talk with, but I am hoping that anyone else who may be having trouble will call out for help. This past week has been like a nightmare for me.

    Leave a comment:


  • foursocks
    replied
    Originally posted by oneequestrienne View Post
    Take a look at the Safesport and USEF suspension/banned lists. Some very old history is coming out and not all are deceased. Clearly, 30+ years ago is fair game. Memories were dead and buried and now it all comes back.
    For many, if not most, victims of sexual assault nothing is ever "dead and buried."

    Leave a comment:


  • ladyj79
    replied
    To be fair, the Jimmy Williams situation wasn't really dead and buried because his name was on national federation awards and on rings where national federation shows were held.

    I don't know that they'll be posthumously banning every rando former member from 30 years ago.

    Leave a comment:


  • oneequestrienne
    replied
    Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
    Ok so here's the interesting question. Is this new desire for clean sport willing to look into past incidents? And if so what parameters are they willing to cover.

    Just curious.

    Emily
    Take a look at the Safesport and USEF suspension/banned lists. Some very old history is coming out and not all are deceased. Clearly, 30+ years ago is fair game. Memories were dead and buried and now it all comes back.

    Leave a comment:


  • Crown Royal
    replied
    Not physical, but while I was a WS in high school, a male client 50+ years older than me found me in our horse trailer dressing room while I was alone (we were at a show), came in, and started hitting on me (after not speaking to me the other times we met when we were in the company of others). I got out of there. No reason he needed to be there. Fortunately it was our last day with him.

    Leave a comment:


  • Moesha
    replied
    Originally posted by MMacallister View Post
    I considered making an alter for this, which is just sad since it has been almost 30 years. I am still embarrassed by it all these years later.

    Local horse show series announcer was in his mid-twenties, 25 exactly if I remember correctly, I was 12. We talked on the phone for hours at a time and I was so flattered that this guy wanted to talk to me. In school, I was a big geek, but this guy liked me! One day he asked me to ride his bike down the road to meet him. I wasn't supposed to go as far as he was asking, but I mounted my pink and purple huffy and set off down the driveway anyway.

    He met me in a beat up ford dually. A dream machine to a horse girl. He parked in a quiet neighborhood and soon there was kissing, then there was more, then my pants were unbuttoned, then the cops showed up.

    He knew the cop, lucky for him, but not so lucky for me. The cop told him to get out of there while he handcuffed me and put me into the back of the cop car. His partner, a female cop, asked if I was okay and then put my bike into the trunk of the cop car and took me to the police station where I was then handcuffed to a bench while they called my mother.

    My mother came and got me. Her and my father had just gotten divorced and she was so worried about what he would think and she grounded me for a month. I went to my grandparents the next week and she asked where had I been and I said "oh you know, around" she said "so I have heard"

    The only person upset by this was my father. He went after the horseshow announcer at the next show, but someone pulled a truck in front of him and the announcer was able to get on the golf cart. Everyone else deemed my 12-year-old self to be at fault.

    I must have led him on, I should know better, I was going to get a reputation for acting like that...

    Afterward, my father banned me from showing at those shows, and my riding career took a serious downturn.

    The boob and butt grabs I have received from judges, clinicians, and trainers since then seemed mild in comparison.

    Yes, it happens.
    This is truly horrifying- It is terrifying that the those sworn to protect and serve behaved like that - you were handcuffed and taken into the police station- Wow I am so sorry

    Leave a comment:


  • findeight
    replied
    It's hard to run to tne HR department when you are working off the books...that's part of what allows this to persist.

    Leave a comment:


  • poltroon
    replied
    Originally posted by ohnoO View Post
    I think it's true, though. Most horsemen learned what they know about how to act and run their business just from a single horseman who mentored them, and let's face it, in some generations past a trainer who didn't molest or cheat clients/students is probably more surprising than one who did. I have been thinking for several years that USEF can do a great service to our industry by simply providing some of this training that is now routine in other professions - sexual harassment, and also business ethics. I worry that many good people put out their shingle and behave unethically not because they are intentionally bad people, but because no one ever taught them there is a right (or different) way.

    Also please note everyone that this new requirement from SafeSport for mandatory reporting isn't originating from USEF, but from Congress. IE, federal law rather than a USEF rule change.

    Leave a comment:


  • ohnoO
    replied
    NCRider

    Leave a comment:


  • Soaponarope
    replied
    I would say it is different though. It isn't always a crusty old guy making unwanted advances. Sometimes it's an attractive trainer with charisma and power and juniors are susceptible to their charms. So while there is harassment, there are also unsupervised kids spending 14 hours a day with an adult they worship and they may have no clue that trainer doesn't have their best interest at heart. Which is why I never let my kid leave home and become a working student as a junior. And I kept tabs on her. This after I recall a girl telling me in college that she lost her virginity to "her groom." Not that we ever had a groom, and nothing against grooms, but, no thank you.

    Leave a comment:


  • NCRider
    replied
    Setting aside the underage cases which are on a different level, a lot of this is clear workplace harassment and no different than secretaries and bosses (Mad Men anyone?) or doctors and nurses dir cots actresses etc etc. what is different is the horse world seems to be lagging behind the more corporate environments in making the more blantant examples of this type of harassment unacceptable. It's reflective of the overall lack of professionalism in the industry It's like we're stuck in the 70's. we need an HR department.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kirikou
    replied
    Originally posted by findeight View Post
    The other thing is...am 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?
    I think right here is part of the problem: that culture of "competition" between women where someone would claim that one is not "pretty" enough to be messed with, or in some dark twisted way "not worthy enough" to be assaulted. It's the "classic" defense of the rapist: "I couldn't have done that your Honor, I am not even attracted to her, I mean look at her." Lust is only part of the reason for harassment or assault, it is much more about someone in a position of power asserting his/her dominance over a victim. When a powerful man/woman objectifies, grabs or pins their WS against the wall (as in the Eventing thread), he/she is showing he/she is in charge.

    - the correlative of that culture being "victim's pride" when someone is paying you attention ("I know this isn't quite right, but surely this means that I am prettier/better/etc than the other girls in the barn?").

    And research has shown that in cases of assault and harassment, physical attractiveness of the victim has little to do with it: it's about power and control plain and simple.

    Leave a comment:


  • Xctrygirl
    replied
    Originally posted by dani0303 View Post

    I can't answer for sure but I'd imagine if there was evidence they would look into it. You might want to email USEF with your question.
    This is more related to the #metoo thread on eventing right now.

    Emily

    Leave a comment:


  • dani0303
    replied
    Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
    Ok so here's the interesting question. Is this new desire for clean sport willing to look into past incidents? And if so what parameters are they willing to cover.

    Just curious.

    Emily
    I can't answer for sure but I'd imagine if there was evidence they would look into it. You might want to email USEF with your question.

    Leave a comment:


  • Xctrygirl
    replied
    Ok so here's the interesting question. Is this new desire for clean sport willing to look into past incidents? And if so what parameters are they willing to cover.

    Just curious.

    Emily

    Leave a comment:

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