My experience with physical harassment in the Smash Bros community
To start, there is no instances of grooming or r**e.
I want to get this out of my mind now so I can sleep. As context, I have been holding off on talking about this because some of the people who harassed me are mutual friends and I have shared positive experiences with them, but I can not excuse their behavior. I have chosen not to out their real names because they did stop after a few times. I have had encounters where I have been sexually harassed and it did not end even when I was pleading.
I want to go over some accounts of sexual harassment that I have experienced in the Smash community. To add on, I would like the purpose of these accounts to maybe expound on why the climate can determine on when and why a victim chooses to come forward with said allegations. For each, I am willing to provide screenshots of people who can verify that I did speak to them about it, just DM me if you want more proof.
1) South Bay 1: This occurred around Spring 2019 - October 25th 2019. This was at a very popular south bay weekly that I will not reveal because it would damage the reputation of the tournament owner, who was not involved directly. It was very humid and I wore a tank top so I would not be a sweaty gamer. This person, someone I have seen a handful of times, said "oh my god you are so sexy". I said "thank you" because it is a genuine compliment. Throughout the tournament, this person touched me and felt my shoulders slowly. Admittedly, it was face to face and I saw his hand come forward to touch me. Please, understand that I froze and wasn't able to do anything. I just let him do whatever he wanted to my arms and shoulders, like running his fingers along my skin. One of my psychiatrists diagnosed me with somatic PTSD, which is where your body functions act in response to past trauma happening. At the time, I couldn't really think or move or anything and I just watched as everyone else minded their own business in the venue. After he was done he just seemed bored and went to talk to his friend group in the middle of the room. My friends came to me to just chat but I didn't really answer. I wanted to fucking go to the bathroom and cry but I had to play my next match soon.
When I went home I was so confused and I hated myself. I convinced myself that I deserved this and I chatted online with the person who did this. I reasoned that maybe this was a sexual experience that I could enjoy, anything to bargain with myself that I wasn't a victim again. I even sold this person some pictures for $7 hoping that it would make my conscience clear. It didn't. Eventually I told this person directly that this was not okay and this needed to stop. He said okay and apologized. Then, just two tournaments later, the same person went to me and told me to take my shirt off. I didn't get triggered, but I was just very uncomfortable that a person who I told to stop harassing me just told me to take my shirt off. I had another talk with them. They apologized and since then they haven't harassed me.
I have been thinking on whether or not I should have reported them to the NorCal Safety Panel. I hinted at harassment to the TO but I was too scared to fully explain it as the TO (one of the best people I've ever met) and the harasser are close friends. Ever since then I have left Smash for a period of time, came back, and had to deal with anxiety whenever I was in any tournament with this person (which was almost every tournament). I have left the mutual group chat we were in a few times because I felt as if everyone in there hated me. I felt that if I talked about what happened, I would be alienated from the group. I say this in order to help you understand that people who are harassed don't talk about it because of fear of being ridiculed or alienated.
You know who you are, we have already talked today about this. You seem to be a valuable person to the community you are a part of and I believe that you have and are going to take actions to make sure that you nor anyone else will do anything like that again. To add on, I feel as if I encouraged the behavior by wearing a tank top and by selling you the pictures after the events. Further, I have issued a case that will only give you a warning strike in our region and you'll be monitored. I will not out you to the public because you have proven that you are sorry and will not do it ever again to anyone.
2) South Bay 2: This instance occurred during the Summer of 2019. It's a friend that goes to a tournament that I attend. This person was actually someone I started to get to know through mutuals. In the middle of a crowded tournament, this person straight up tried to twist my nipple through my shirt. I was so shocked I didn't even look at the person. Other instances include just walking up and putting their hand up my shirt or wrapping their arm around my waist tightly out of random when we sat next to each other in the venue. It took this person 2 or 3 direct and alone conversations for them to stop. Eventually, they stopped. I could see this being a way for people to "be boys" and just goof around and be weird, but I didn't know this person well enough to be okay with that. The most concerning part was that it took multiple requests for them to stop. I didn't want to tell anyone because people would say "oh him? He's just weird haha" and I didn't want to look like a drama queen.
3) San Francisco: This person, F, was someone I only talked to at tournaments about 3 or 4 times prior to this happening. We had a par friendship, just saying "whatsup" and "you play yet?" in bracket. I feel to anxious to say their full tag, but this person that I never hung out with had taken the liberty of putting his hands on my body whenever he felt like during the tournament. There were two instances in the bracket where I was playing a tournament match / friendlies and this person seeped their fingers into my hair and felt my scalp. Or did something like bounce their hand on my hair like it was a drum. I played and I was too afraid to look behind me when I felt a hand massaging my neck, like something a coach would do. I think that this situation was much more uncomfortable than the aforementioned due to me not knowing this person that well. This person also has a reputation of being very handsy and touchy to a plethora of other people and is currently being reviewed by the NorCal Smash Panel. I did not say something or speak up because this person has influence in the community as well as people seeing it as "his normal". I couldn't even move or focus on my controller because I was getting triggered and was starting to disconnect mentally. I didn't want to seem like I was crying for attention so I just let it be and felt sad.
4) South Bay 3: This person is a top player and has harassed myself as well as well as other women. I would like to return to this when I feel confident enough and have enough evidence because this person's influence is very large. He has tried to get me to do some shady shit at Fanime as well as touch me weirdly when I was drunk while we were out barhopping at 55 South. He also tried to take my drunk friend home in his car after I insisted that we get her an Uber instead. Again, I will talk about it when I am ready and have talked to other people about their similar experiences.
I don't want this to be attention seeking and I don't want to seem bandwaggony. What happened to me is a far cry from the harrowing cases of pedophilia, grooming, and much worse happening in this community.
The purpose of this tweet is to elucidate on why people take so long to talk about their situations, if at all. I was encouraged to write this because I saw so many posts on the internet asking "why did she talk about it now" / "why didn't he speak up at the time". Some reasons why this happens is because:
1) Fear of isolation
2) Fear of being wrong/thinking that you are in the wrong
3) Fear of embarrassment/mockery
4) Physical limitations/shock
This needs to change. We as a community need a lot more than an inkling of reform if it leads to having everyone just keep their hands on their controller and not other people.