For another, I do think the BJJ community is a fundamentally male-oriented group, with roots in a fairly misogynistic era and society, that is struggling to find ways to include women. Before you jump all over me about the misogynistic roots of BJJ, I think I read that very few women in the Gracie family trained BJJ. I believe Kyra's mother Flavia trained, but Kyra is the only blackbelt in that family. I know, I know, there's a ton of really talented Brazilian women in jiu jitsu now... but even so, they're a small fraction compared to the number of men who train and compete. In any case, I think that part of the problem is that some men really didn't even GET that they were committing rape. And that kind of ignorance is sadly more common in the predominant demographic of many jiu jitsu academies-- young men. I'm not making excuses, it's still morally bankrupt-- but it's sometimes just sheer stupid thoughtlessness as opposed to malice. If I had a nickel for every time a guy has said to me "If she's really drunk and coming on to you [or doesn't say no] and passes out, then it's not rape", I'd be a rich woman. And I think that kind of attitude is a misogynistic one.
Anyway, I'm sharing with you one of these ladies' experiences, with her approval, in the hopes it may help someone else. She wrote this herself and asked only that I not share her name.
"Three years ago, Halloween of 2009, I was invited by a teammate to his house party. I had only been training for a few months at this point and thought it was a good way to hang out with some of the guys. At the party, I ran into a couple other teammates, ended up having a fantastic time. Naturally, I drank, took shots, the whole shabang. At the end of the night, I was drunk... I also ended up driving. One of the guys I was hanging out with needed a ride home b/c he was stranded - his ride ditched him. He was also a teammate, so I didn't think anything of it. I drunkenly drove him home, I don't know how. This was probably the worst night of my life. I could have just as easily killed myself that night driving under the influence.
We arrive at his place in one piece, and he invites me in to crash because I was clearly drunk. The rest of this night is in bits and pieces. I remember laying on his bed passing out, I remember him getting a condom, I remember myself saying "no, no, no." I remember him pulling my stockings and underwear down as I was too helpless to stop him. At this point, I passed out. I don't remember the penetration, I just remember that it happened. I woke up in the morning, horrified. He was passed out next to me in his underwear. I had such a feeling of guilt and shame that I bolted, as I was also late for work. I saw him Monday afternoon, at training. He had the nerve to ask me, "Did you make it home okay?"
I hope any survivors of sexual assault reading this who harbor their own flavor of self-blame will let it go and realize it wasn't their fault either...
One more interesting tidbit: here's the Fightworks Podcast post on Ryan Hall's departure from TLI some 4 years ago. Have you read Ryan's open letter yet?