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Published on May 18th, 2012 | by DerbyLife


Stranger Danger In Our Derby Community

By: Calamity Cutthroat #13
NRDL, Australia

We are sparkly, we hit hard, we look cute in tube socks and we are fierce athletes…However, once we take off our skates for the day, we are just like everyone else and we certainly are not immune to the predators.

As our bouting careers progress and roller derby continues to grow, we find ourselves in positions where we, as skaters, are easily accessible to the public. In almost all aspects this is fabulous! I mean seriously where would we be without our adoring fans right?

Wrong. We are actually leaving ourselves wide open and exposed to a whole new host of creeps. Believe me they are out there and they are fast learning how to infiltrate our derby community.
How many times this week alone have you accepted a friend request by someone on facebook simply because they had a derby name or derby profile picture? We are all guilty of it, simply because, in derby, we trust.

Fun loving Fleetwood Wack #32 bouting out of England could easily be Wally Jacobs, 45 year old convicted rapist from Wallsend, who thinks you’d look really great in his basement. Excessive? Paranoid?

Perhaps I am over reacting, but we tend to forget we are just as likely to get stalked, harassed and in even assaulted, as the girl sitting next to you on the bus who has never even heard of roller derby.

There have been several reported incidents involving many skaters from Australia on Facebook this year alone. The incidents ranged from inappropriate comments, unwelcome and obsessive page stalking, to one guy even posing as a league ref to convince a skater to meet up with her for a “street skate”.

Don’t be fooled, these guys are not affiliated with roller derby in any way shape or form; they are exploiting our safe community and preying on trusting and unsuspecting skaters.

Veteran skaters with a few bouting years under their skates tend to be a little more savvy around this issue, as they, too, have been bombarded with random friend requests over their bouting careers. You can get very good at filtering out these people. I personally recognized real fast who was the real deal and who are the creepys. So please, educate and protect your fresh meat: mentor them and keep them safe as they enter our sisterhood.

I am the admin for the “Derby Wives & Widows” page on Facebook and regularly receive strange messages and posts from guys “being available” if girls are looking for a good time!! This is not cool. We are a legitimate women’s sport, not a dating service. I mean seriously, would these guys actually be ballsy enough to post such crap and harass women on netball and hockey forums??

In saying all this, without our genuine fans and followers our leagues couldn’t financially survive, but we still need to take a few precautions to be sure people are who they say they really are.
Perhaps two pages is an option? Some skaters have a fan page for their roller derby activities and a private page for their friends, family and personal life. Be selective about who you add, take the time to have a look at the profile of the person who is seeking your friendship to ensure they are a genuine fan and have no freaky suspect content on their page. You could also set your page to private so only your approved friends can see your photos and updates. These few simple barriers can help keep the creeps at bay.

Unfortunately because our sport is still perceived in a certain light, (you know the deal… short skirts, tattooed chicks on skates, etc.) we as the skaters in this sport are also still perceived in this light. It’s up to us to ensure our sport is promoted and recognized by everyone for what we really are: strong, powerful, athletes.

If you see this happening or you feel threatened by the behavior of a fan/ follower on Facebook or any other media related forum, please report this unwelcome behavior to your league president and the page’s administrator.

We need to protect one another, keep our members safe, and keep the creeps out of our derby community.

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