Note: This story contains mentions of rape, sexual harassment and sexual abuse
Professional wrestlers from Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) have recently spoken up about the sexual harassment that goes unchecked in the local wrestling industry. In a series of tweets tagged #SpeakingOut posted last June 19, Nina, one of the wrestlers from PWR, recounted the story of how an international guest approached her with inappropriate jokes and statements in multiple events.
The harassment continued for several more events with Nina unable to do anything. Her story read, “What do you really do in situations like these? You just…kinda freeze. Your instinct is not to be rude. So you just awkwardly laugh…”
In her story, Nina admits that she isn’t traumatized because unfortunately this kind of behavior happens all the time, even outside of the industry. However, she calls for abusers to be held accountable and hopefully learn a lesson on how to properly treat women.
“Women have every right to speak up about their mistreatment. If you ladies need someone to open up to or talk to, I’m a message away. I can’t guarantee [that] I’ll give you the best advice in the world but I’ll be here to listen and comfort you the best I can.”
Soon after, another pro wrestler, Crystal, also shared her story on Twitter about the same guy that harassed Nina, as well as some other incidents. According to Crystal, she never felt safe in the industry and that “No amount of apologies will ever undo the damage.”
Since then, PWR has released a statement showing support for the wrestlers who are speaking out about the abuse. Their statement reads, “Our company has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and abuse and we strive to make PWR a safe environment for anyone.”
They also acknowledged the part that their female wrestlers played in building the industry. “We believe that pro wrestling would not be the dynamic industry it is today without all the talented women who have given so much of themselves to our sport.”
In a statement shared with Preen.ph, PWR’s current management said they are handling the cases of Nina and Crystal, noting that the people accused are no longer affiliated with the company. Acoording to them, those accused haven’t worked with the company in years, with one of them being banned from promotions right after Nina’s story was brought to their attention. “PWR has had no intentions of associating or working with either individual since their departures from our promotion and this will continue going forward.”
Their statement also said that they are looking for more ways to educate themselves and improve the system by coordinating with women’s rights groups and international wrestling companies. Aside from that, they are also taking steps to protect those who have shared their stories with the #SpeakingOut movement.
“Our current management has also offered and provided support to anyone who comes forward to us for help. We have offered to refer them to those who can help them with legal matters, as well as to people who can provide psychological help through counseling.”
The #SpeakingOut movement gained international recognition on Twitter last week, after several wrestlers from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) were accused of sexual assault and violence. Forbes reported that NWA vice president Dave Lagana is one of the most prominent wrestling figures accused of assault.