Posts Written by Katherine

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community: Let’s take a stand against rape

by Rachel Piazza, BJJ purple belt

As a woman, a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and a feminist, I was horrified to learn that two high profile male Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitors repeatedly raped their female teammate after offering to drive her home on New Year’s Eve. This story from Washington, D.C. has shocked the close-knit Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) community, many of whom are connected in some way to those involved in this gut-wrenching crime. As BJJ practitioners, we know the bond that teammates share and the trust we put in one another every time we step on the mat. As a BJJ community, we are disgusted at our association with these monsters. When those two men raped their teammate, they betrayed us all. As women, this crime reminds us of our own vulnerability to sexual assault and rape.

While we cringe because we know the trust that is shared among teammates, this scenario is unfortunately all too common. According to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), approximately two-thirds of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. The rape of a female BJJ competitor by her teammates reminds us that our community does not exist outside the misogynistic culture that fuels these attacks.

For me, BJJ is a way I resist this culture. When I put my gi on and grapple with men, I am refusing to listen to messages that tell me to be quiet, polite and docile. But this act of ...

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