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Listening to those that are #SpeakingOut and what to do next

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In the wake of the stories about David Starr, his response, and the moves made by several promotions to distance themselves from Starr, numerous people have come forward to tell their stories of being subjected to predatory behavior and abuse by wrestlers and others in the industry.

Some have named names, others have not. A handful of those that did have received responses.

In response to a series of tweets by a woman which documented the abuse she says was inflicted on her by NXT UK’s Jordan Devlin, WWE issued a statement which reads, “We take any allegation of this nature very seriously and are looking into the matter.”

Another resulted in the ouster of Mikey Whiplash as the co-owner of Fierce Females, a Scottish women’s wrestling promotion, after a group of wrestlers came forward to describe abuse by Whiplash.

It’s not just wrestlers and trainers. After stories about his time working as an announcer on the Texas indies re-surfaced, Uproxx’s Brandon Stroud tweeted a lengthy statement.

We won’t be documenting each person’s story. We’re a blog, and don’t have the resources (or frankly, the skills) to do the kind of investigative journalism an issue like this requires to fairly and responsibly represent all involved. There are legal considerations, too.

But most importantly, these aren’t our stories to tell. You can find them on social media, where the hashtag #SpeakingOut has been trending since last night (Thurs., June 18). The best thing the wrestling community can do in this moment is to listen.

While you’re listening, remember this moment doesn’t come out of nowhere. There have long been whispers about certain wrestlers, shouts about others. The history of the business is replete with stories about what can at best be described as casual sex with fans & trainees, and lurid tales of wrestlers pimped out to powerful people.

A correction is long overdue.

Hopefully this is the start of that. For it to continue, mainstream reporters & law enforcement will probably have to get involved. It will require allies within the business to remain vigilant. It will take more than just scandal and outrage. It will require work.

The bulk of that work ultimately lies with us - the fans.

Wrestling is an art. But unless it’s also a business, it doesn’t exist. Our work is actively supporting companies & wrestlers who are creating safe spaces for performers & fans. Our work is not dealing with those who continue to book predators & abusers, and actively disavowing organizations who refuse to take steps to protect their employees & customers.

Hold them accountable. Vote with your money.

Our work is calling out bad behavior when we see it. It happens in the stands, where everyone who’s been to an event has heard a sexist or degrading chant. It happens at indie shows, where we may have seen wrestlers & promoters using their power over others outside of the ring. It certainly happens online... all the damn time.

If the moment is to turn into a movement, we all have to work to do.

Let’s get to work.

Anyone affected by sexual assault, whether it happened to you or someone you care about, can find support on the National Sexual Assault Hotline - 800.656.HOPE (4673). You can also visit online.rainn.org to receive support via confidential online chat.