Clearing the Puck Out.

Hockey twitter crumbles and I’m not even sorry.

I think a lot of us have decided to walk away given what a circus this all has become. I know I’m out, essentially. I just can’t be part of it anymore. There’s so many problems that need confronted and too many are unwilling to make the shift. People aren’t seeming to grasp how hurtful their vicious defensiveness has been.

Mostly I’m wounded because to make things better, I’m going to be leaving people behind I thought were my friends. People who had known me for years and had long been vocal champions on causes relating to women all of the sudden were absolutely silent. Nice to know which side you picked. Nice to know you doubted me and belittled the experiences I went through. And this was after I dragged it out all these things. So many things I didn’t want to unpack and wasn’t ready to speak on. But I did it. And I had more support from strangers than I ever expected. Thank you. And I had friends who listened to me and defended me and have been wonderful filtering everything.  A few people had been sharing my secret for months. They knew the truth and I can’t thank them enough for maintaining my confidence. It has meant the world to me.

I’ve been frayed because I am united with some women because of our suffering and what happened. My heart breaks that we share this. I am a ball of rage because it has happened to just about every woman I know. A few of them said they had stories to share but weren’t quite ready or didn’t feel they could just yet. And I most definitely understand. I put myself out there hoping and wishing I would be believed.

It has been difficult seeing people I thought respected me remain completely silent on the matter. They couldn’t even be general enough to say “No one should have to endure sexual harassment.” One woman was miffed because she thought we were categorizing all hockey writers as awful. We weren’t. We’ve been very careful and specific about how we speak on the manner. I initially never spoke out because I wasn’t sure if I could without a damned lawyer.

But the heartwrenching and gutting silence. It speaks volumes that this is acceptable. It enforces “boy’s club” structures. It goes to show how little they think of us women. Sure a few told me in private how sorry they are. But they couldn’t even bother to tweet a condemnation of our treatment. These are the supposed men who have claimed they have my back and want me to succeed. Guess I can’t succeed too much. And I need to accept sexual harassment is a thing I will face. And there were men who have unfollowed me. Cull the herd, I suppose. One said we shouldn’t be “airing dirty laundry.” I suspect more dominoes are going to fall as more women feel they can come forward and name names. I wasn’t entirely joking when I said that we had a list of dirtbags who deserve to have a drink tossed in their face.

Right now, I’m just tired. There’s too many nice things for me to reply to. A few friends have been keeping an eye on everything and said they would let me know when things are peaceful and I can return. I’ve gotten some nice emails and Facebook messages too. A few guys sent me messages essentially making it about themselves, wondering if they’ve ever been a sleaze. Well, if you have to ask and are concerned – yeah you probably crossed a line.

At the end of the day I hope I did my part to get a dialog rolling about treatment of others. I’m not going to accept threats and harassment just for existing. I’m doing my best to unpack a lot of what is in my head and to control the environment around me.

Thank you to everyone who has listened to me and fought to let my voice be heard without question.

I don’t regret coming forward at all. I was more upset it has happened to so many others. I broke down crying when people telling me similar tales of harassment. I spoke out because I didn’t want those coming forward to be alone. It was the worst way to find a connection to another person, honestly. We’re united in our suffering and I’m so sorry.

During my time in the hockeysphere I think I learned a lot. I’ve fought hard to carve a place out for the fans the sport won’t accept. I’ve also learned the hockey bubble doesn’t really want to make things better as much as it claims. So many times I thought we’d hit the restart button but alas, no.

Maybe just maybe, once and for all it is time to close the doors here once and for all. Maybe it is time to start again somewhere else. I’m still thinking. Or maybe it is time to retire from the fight. The verbal abuse is just too much.

Best,

Heather