It’s Time to Speak Out

By now, everyone has heard of the meltdown in Hollywood regarding a certain movie mogul’s alleged sexual misconduct.  We say alleged, first, to keep us from getting sued, and secondly, until things are proven in a court of law they are allegations. The fact that the mogul in question has paid out millions of dollars in settlements can either be construed as an admission of guilt or an unwillingness to go through an extended court battle.

It’s time that the Wrestling Community lift the code of silence and to be honest about what’s going on behind closed doors. We all have probably heard locker room stories about wrestlers doing anything to get booked, or wrestlers acting inappropriately toward others, including groping and fondling, and worse.  Some of the allegations we have heard about in the past far exceed the statute of limitations and some of it has turned into folklore.

There is an underbelly of the wrestling business that is extremely unattractive.  Because of the physicality of the business, people can take advantage of that for their own warped sense of sexual fulfillment.

This is not about being politically correct. This is about calling it out and stopping the practice, and be willing to stick up for yourselves and for the community.

And let’s be clear. It’s just not about acting inappropriately with adults. It’s about acting inappropriately with minors, too. At no time should talent be in the presence of an unaccompanied minor so as not to create the perception of impropriety.

This author knows what it’s like to be sexually abused. It’s something that I don’t like to admit, because it’s ugly and makes me feel less than a person. It’s part of my life that will never go away no matter the distance in terms of time. It didn’t happen in the ring. It didn’t happen in the business. It happened at home. It haunts me even after four decades. And although the perpetrator has passed away, the memories still linger on and are a constant source of shame.

To put anyone through that shame, humiliation and degradation is repugnant and horrifying.  As we’ve learned from the movie mogul’s story, no one, regardless of their position in life, has the right to engage in such aberrant acts without impunity.

Being sexually abused can lead to all sorts of things, including depression, drug abuse, alcoholism, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and suicide.  It can lead to sexual dysfunction and acting out, and harboring secrets that can destroy relationships and lives.

Here some staggering statistics: at least 1 in 6 young men will have been sexually abused by the age of 17, and one in 4 women will have been abused by the time they’re 18.  Those numbers should be ZERO.

Now, we could call people out on moves that incorporate overt sexual acts and wonder aloud if they smack of desperation of the performer to reinvent themselves when their ring persona has gone stale, or if such acts might cheapen the sport, but we won’t. It’s their choice.  At some point, the schtick will grow old and they’ll be find themselves scrambling to find a new persona. No pun intended. We could call out the promoters who book such talent and call themselves a family friendly show need to take a look at what they’re doing, but we won’t.  We could say they are contributing to the sleaze factor, but again, we won’t.

Sexual misconduct of any sort on the part of any performer, promoter or behind the scenes personnel should be immediately reported to the proper authorities.  No waiting.  No hiding in fear. Just do it. Those who have been victimized by others should also seek physical and mental heath examinations and counseling. We are here for you if you need to talk.  This is something you cannot go alone.

We invite anyone who has been a victim of unwanted sexual advances or abuse to contact us. Not only will we be more than happy to point you toward the appropriate resources to support you, but we’d also like to hear your story because it’s time we put an end to the code of silence once and for all through a series of articles.  Your anonymity will be guaranteed. We respectfully request, however, that you be in integrity regarding your claims and not just use this to smear someone.

To those who would cheapen the businesss and damage lives for their own personal gain, the jig is up.  It may take months or years to call you out, but your actions will eventually come to light and you will be held accountable.

Indy Wrestling Life was created because everyone in the business matters. Sometimes we have to talk about the ugly stuff and this is pretty damn ugly, but the time for sweeping it under the rug and looking the other way for fear of losing jobs or getting that needed push is over.

Wrestling community, if you give a damn about this sport and want to clean it up, now is the time.  Your silence implies consent. Your speaking up could and will save lives.

Here are some important resources:

Emergency Help Line:  911

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

RAINN:  https://www.rainn.org

SLAA (sex and love addicts anonymous): https://slaafws.org

Just like Hollywood, it’s time we cleaned up our act, too.

If this article saves one life or makes someone think twice about their actions, it’s worth it.