Roller Derby

Roller Derby Has a Sexual Assault Problem, and We Need to Talk About It

Roller Derby Has a Sexual Assault Problem, and We Need to Talk About It Photo credit Sean Hale

Roller derby, sit down for a second. We need to talk.

It’s taken me eight years to write down what I’m about to say. Not because I’ve forgotten what happened to me or because it doesn’t affect me. I’ve waited because I didn’t think my story was worthy of reporting, and lacked the bravery and self worth to say something. I feared the things they’d say.

“That’s just what happens at after parties.”

“It was probably just a misunderstanding.”

“It’s not even that bad. It’s not like you got raped.”

“Get over it.”

“I don’t believe you.”

I’ve held onto this fear for eight years. Until now.

I’m a pregnant roller derby athlete

I’m a pregnant roller derby athlete Photo credit Marko Niemela (

Part One: Holy shit this is happening

I want to start out by saying; this is me being honest. This is what I went through. It might not be popular, or what other people went through… but this is what happened, and how it made me feel, and how I handled it. I’m here to share my experience so others don’t feel judged by expectation, so please don’t jump down my throat for my choices.

Pregnancy has a million expectations on women, and that’s part of what makes it difficult… because it’s not just the craziness of hormones and body changes you’re handling, but also the set of parameters of how you should feel because of that expectation of “OH THIS IS ALL WORTH IT, ‘CAUSE: BABY”.

That makes me furious. It ignores my struggles and frustrations like I should be some happy robot housewife from the ’50s.

So without further ado, here’s my story of learning about my pregnancy…

Roller Derby Retirement Letter

Roller Derby Retirement Letter Photo credit: Deadwards

For those who feel the call of retirement coming on, but don’t quite know how to put into words what you should say to your league, Derby Central is here to help you out with our Mad Libs Retirement Letter.

Shades of Skate

If there’s one thing that comes to mind when talking about roller derby, it’s that we’re unapologetic about celebrating ourselves for who we are.

Our community is rife with people who deeply value belonging to a group that likes them for who they are, and for that I am deeply grateful.

Yet as our numbers grow, the representation of people of color (POC) involved in the sport seems to stay the same; it’s a conversation that is not yet obvious but should be happening. After talking to other POC about their derby experience, I knew there was something more to it and I wanted to hear more stories.

The Color of Derby: A Higher Standard, A Hard Job

The Color of Derby: A Higher Standard, A Hard Job Image by Deadwards

“Black 91! Black 91 high block! Black 91! Insubordination!”

The ref yells over and over at the skater who has just committed a penalty.

Then, after repeating the call multiple times, the skater being referred to seems to refuse to leave the track and receives an insubordination penalty.

First thought: both penalties were earned and that skater should be reprimanded. At closer look, it’s clear number 91 is confused. Looking around. Unsure what has just transpired.

The reason? “Black 91” was actually skating in green – Green 91. The skater thought the official was calling out a player on the opposing team. The confusion stemmed from number 91 being called “Black” – her skin color, not her team color.