My Personal Experience with the Smash Community and Why I Left It
I went through my snapchat logs to see if I still had some kind of proof of this, but unfortunately, I did not save the logs.
Before I get into this, Patrick Turner (formerly GingerJesus, I think he might have gone by Apollo after this happened, not sure) and Raeshun Bowen (Raisin) were the Tournament Owners at the time and knew this was happening. They did not do anything about it at the time, but they have since thoroughly apologized and I truly believe they are not the same people still as mentioned in this post. I am currently still friends with both of them and I can assure that they would never let anything like this happen again.
Anyways. I might lose some friends over this, so I'm pretty nervous about posting it, but I also feel like it needs to be said. My tag used to be "yungsheik", and sometimes "yungbutt" (cringeworthy, but it was to mock my snapchat name which is honestly WORSE), and where I started to be referred to as "sheik".
If I recall correctly, I started getting involved with the Mobile Smash Community when I was a senior in high school. I ran tournaments because, honestly, I had fun doing so and I had fun talking to the different people that the smash community had to offer.
I had a lot of pressure coming from school and my parents, so doing this kind of "on the side" made me feel like I was of use. And as a person who was repeatedly emotionally (and sometimes physically) abused by her parent, it made me feel like I was worth something. I did something for a community, so I must have some kind of worth. That was kind of my mindset.
One day, a man by the tag of "A Rookie" came to the tournament. A lot of people were excited because he was somewhat of a "big" player and Mobile's smash community is, well, small. His presence basically attracted a lot more people to the venue, so many people were excited to meet him, play him, etc. I was no exception.
To put this in perspective before moving on, I had just turned 19, Patrick was 22, Rae was 23, and Albert (A Rookie) was 25.
We played each other in some friendlies and talked a little bit. I'm pretty awkward with strangers, but he thought I was funny, so it made me feel better. Plus, he was "kind of a big deal", and being validated by someone who is "kind of a big deal" does make people feel nice. We ended up adding each other on Facebook, and he immediately DMed me.
He was really friendly at first, and I genuinely enjoyed talking to him. I eventually felt it was okay to give him my number. I had an interest in him, but I didn't think it was anything romantic. More of a potential "I look up to him" kind of thing. He added me on snapchat also.
Another thing to note is at the time, he pushed for me to hang out with him quite a few times. I was pretty naive, and just dodged the subject most of the time. I barely knew the guy, so I wasn't comfortable with it at all. He also made jokes about my age. I'll be posting each image separately due to the fact it doesn't always post in order on imgur.
I joked about how I looked younger than I was a lot, so I didn't really take it as something weird at the time.
But after texting him a bit, it did get weird. He started talking about how he was thinking of joining the military (I can't remember which branch) and how he was going to be stationed far away or something along those lines. He asked me if I would be interested in that and I was kind of like... "I mean I don't really know you". I don't have logs for this because I've gotten so many new phones the past few years.
I avoided talking to him for a while. He made me pretty uncomfortable. I did ask around about him, like if he was a good guy. I don't really know WHY I asked about him, I think I was just trying to convince myself he wasn't as creepy as I started to think he was, but no one really talked to the guy personally enough to accurately answer that question.
One day, while I was at the beach, I took a picture in my bikini and he started flirting with me over snapchat. I was just trying to enjoy my day at the beach, so I started responding with pretty short responses and eventually got a sexually explicit picture.
At that point I was in the process of deciding to block the guy. It felt nice to be validated, it did not feel nice to be looked at and talked to as a sexual object. He was 6 years older than me at the time, and I had barely turned 19. I originally thought I was 18, but this was a time error on my part. It wouldn't have been illegal, sure, but it was definitely creepy. And sending a sexually explicit picture I didn't ask for made me extremely uncomfortable. After he sent me that picture, he tried contacting me a few more times over Facebook. You can see in how I respond I absolutely did not want to talk to this guy. In hindsight, I probably should have blocked the guy, but at the time I was still a part of the community and really didn't want it to somehow come back to me in a negative light.
He showed up on a monthly basis, and during these times I was highly uncomfortable and avoided him as much as possible while still running these tournaments.
I talked to Raeshun and Patrick about what he did, and how it made me uncomfortable. However, me and Patrick had a pretty rocky relationship at this point and when I told him about Albert he had the stance of "Sure that's shitty, but not a bannable offense". Rae, on the other hand, seemed disgusted by this fact. However, despite them both being co-owners of the tournament, nothing came out of it.
Eventually me and Patrick got into a pretty heated argument over, honestly, many different things ranging from personal to this, and I took my leave from the smash community. At the time, though, it truly felt I was being kicked from it after running the tournaments for over a year.
What Albert did was bad and disgusting, however, how the people - who knew it happened -reacted took more of a toll on me emotionally overall. I first became uncomfortable in a place I took comfort in, before eventually being kicked from it altogether. The tournament owners could and should have done something about this, and simply did not.
I talked to Rae and Patrick before I posted this. I changed the original post as well. I do feel they should be held accountable, which is why I ended up deciding to leave their names in this. But I really, truly believe they are not the same people. Both of them have apologized, and I have found closure in all of this. I do not believe that Patrick or Rae are bad people at all, and like all humans they've made mistakes. I believe they are not the same people they were 4 years ago. And like many humans, they continue to grow.
I mostly posted this because I am positive there have been many people with similar experiences. As a community, I truly hope this brings to light many other things that have been swept under the rug for far too long. I hope people who have felt like a victim because of someone or something in the smash community will find closure. This is painful for everyone in the community to watch, to hear about, and to know about, but it truly is necessary. Please be aware of what is going on around you.
So, there's my story of why I ended up leaving the smash community. Of course, there were other things, like a busier college schedule, but this was the tilting point of it all.