Wednesday, May 28, 2014

So much sexism, so much male entitlement...

I begin this post with a confession and an apology; towards the end, a repost of some scary shit from Ronda Rousey's mom about martial arts and sexual abuse.

I Facebook way, way more than I blog.  I'm sorry-- it's just infinitely easier.  I have my phone with me all the time and it's just sooooo easy to share on my wall and come back later to discover the fantastic debates.

I used to blog A LOT, but... well... like I said to my best friend the other day... Everything I want to talk about is too important to say in public.

I want to amend that a bit... everything I want to talk about is either too important to me personally to put out there in a public forum (like, how I feel about training, my academy, my personal life, etc) OR it's too important to give it short shrift.

And lately (ha, the last six months? last year?) I just have been prioritizing a bunch of very time consuming and energy consuming things to the extent that I had little left for the kind of methodical, thoughtful exposition I'd want to put my name on.  After all Facebook is fine for dump and run, but the blog is the place for real journalism, expression of opinion, etc.  Plus, towards the end of April while Slideyfoot was here visiting again, I suffered what initially seemed a mild training mishap, and has turned out to be the tip of the iceberg revealing a longstanding degenerative issue in my neck.  (Basically, I got accidentally cranked during a good training partner's attempt to do a negative pass of my halfguard, and what seemed to be a sore shoulder and pinched radial nerve is actually a bulging cervical disc and pinched nerve way up in there.  And my neck is on backwards, and I'm growing disgusting bone spurs all over my neck that look like a stegosaurus origami.)  So typing and mouse usage has been excruciating, and I *have* to do that all day at my real job.  So my fake job (here) again suffered.

In the last six months, I have had six family members or VERY close friends die.  It's sucked.  But, anyway...

I think my "journalistic" focus has broadened quite a bit from "wow, I can't believe what an asshole Lloyd Irvin is" to the shocked and horrified and motivating discovery of the depth and breadth of rape culture and misogyny in the world.  In fact I feel like that's becoming a bit of a calling for me, and I'm trying to integrate that into my career and bigger picture plans.

If you're not my friend on Facebook, please, friend me.  I'm there allllll the time.  And that's where a lot of my discussions about social issues (of all kinds, not just rapey stuff) happen.

ANYWAY: thanks for listening, I WILL continue to blog as I can.  Reviews, yeah, but I will try to add some thought-out thoughts on all this shit that's in the world.

Scary stuff from Ronda's mom about kids in judo and sex abuse:

published on her blog The Business/Judo of Life //

Recently, I was having a conversation with someone whose stepchild had been a victim of abuse. I was going to suggest martial arts as a means of building self-esteem and learning self-defense ... and then I stopped myself and did not.

Here is why -- because in my 43 years of experience in judo, I have seen a higher proportion of sexual abusers than I have in the general population. I suspect this is also true of other martial arts. Now, it's true that this is only limited to my experience, but in 43 years, traveling around the world, as well as monitoring the news on judo fairly closely, that experience includes a lot of people.

There are a few reasons I think this is true:

  1. In general, people who are seeking to abuse children have to get access to them in some way. Thus, you find more child abuse among people who come into contact with children regularly in settings unsupervised by other adults. To become a teacher at the K-12 level you need to get at least five years of education plus pass a background check, including getting finger printed. To teach martial arts you need to be in a club for a year or two and convince someone to give you a rank. Yes, in some clubs it can take five years or more to get a black belt, but that's not true everywhere. Often, if you show up to class and pay your dues on time you will get promoted. The background check is pretty minimal. The same is also true of many other extracurricular activities like youth sports or dance. 
  2.  In AYSO soccer, my daughter has competed for five years in two different cities and nowhere could you have practice unless there is a female chaperone there.  In contrast, supervision in martial arts programs by other adults tends to be pretty minimal. At our judo program at Gompers Middle School, we cannot have practice without a certified staff member from LAUSD on the mat, but that is an anomaly. I know of dozens of judo programs that have practice with just one adult instructor. Growing up, that was the norm for me.
  3. Situations where a person is in authority - coach, teacher, priest/ minister or parent - not only do they provide an opportunity for abuse but children are often trying to please those people and are often afraid of their authority. Besides, these are the people who children are supposed to be listening to their directions.
To sum it up, you have a setting where physical contact between an adult and a child is allowed, where people with minimal to moderate screening  are in positions where they have unsupervised access to children and are put in a position of authority over them.

On top of all of that, there are certain characteristics that make abuse more likely to occur.  The vast majority of judo instructors are male and over 90% of sexual abuse of females and depending on the study you read, 63-86% of sexual abuse of males occurs with a male perpetrator. 

That is not to say that victims of abuse should not do martial arts, ever. There are people I would trust completely.  Jim Pedro, Sr. , Tony Mojica, Steve & Becky Scott, Karen Mackey - I could give you a list. The point is, all of these are people I have known for years.  I would feel comfortable recommending any one of them INDIVIDUALLY. 

However, I would not feel comfortable recommending judo, or martial arts in general, and since I did not know anyone who lived near this particular family, I caught myself and just expressed sympathy and recommended family therapy.

The reason I wrote this post is that I think people who love martial arts often DO recommend judo, jiujitsu or whatever it is they do as sort of a knee-jerk response, because, after all, it may be great for them. For some children, though, it may be the worst possible thing to do.

And to balance the sad:


Unknown said...

Great post, I've never commented on your blog before. I'm a bjj practicioner, and my wife is thinking about taking it up, but she just found out about the horrible things Lloyd Irvin did and fostered, and is seriously put off by it, as she or anyone should be. I am also a member of the Air Force, and have seen rape culture and misogyny rule the roost time and again. I also follow Dr. DeMarrs's blog, and saw her post. As both a parent of a child martial artist (4 year old daughter) and a kid's coach, I could see how children could be preyed upon. At my academy, there is bleacher-style seating right at matside, and kids are not out of view of their parents for even a second. Kids are never alone with staff members or adult students. I assumed this was the norm, the karate classes I attended as a kid were a similar setup. Keep blogging. There are men and women out there who need your voice, and the problems of deep misogyny, rape, and child predation will not stop if not confronted and resisted, and I'll do what I can.

Georgette said...

You're so kind... thank you, sincerely. That means a lot. Welcome to my blog :)

Shark Girl said...

Thank you for that bunny.

My backyard is filled with cute, little, hopping bunnies this spring. I think I'll keep my cats indoors for a while.
: )