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A Difficult Topic

*Reader discretion is advised, this blog post discusses sexual assault and may be distressing to some. If you've been affected by any of the subjects discussed in this post, organisations that can help are listed at the end of the post.*

Skateboarding has always been for me, as it is for many, an escape. A way of leaving the troubles of everyday life behind and focusing purely on the joy of spending time with like-minded people, in a fun pastime. It's difficult to think of anything else when your travelling at high speed up a vertical slope, it forces you to be present in the moment and clear your mind.

Skateboarding as a scene and culture though, is not immune to some of the nasty elements of society. This last week has reminded me of that, following the reports of abuse that have come out of the hollowed spot, South Bank, in London. Just like skateboarding itself, I'm forced to be present in the moment and ask myself; What can I do to help prevent sexual abuse, and put a stop to rape culture in skateboarding?

Only through unity can these aims be met. Skateboarding has always been an open community, welcome to all. The entrance fee to any scene paid in full by your determination to land tricks and pay in sweat and occasionally blood. As an Alt activity and counter culture, skaters look out for each other and the sense of community that skateboarding comes with, can add to that much needed escapism and expression.

To ensure the incidents of abuse are not repeated we must support survivors to come forward, to be listened to, and do what we can to prevent incidents from happening in the future. That's why over the last few months we've been working with other local Skate facilities to develop a workshop that aims to skill up young skaters in spotting the signs of abuse in their own social groups. The workshops will also explain how to offer support to those affected, and where to get further help from trusted organisations. We hope to publish the first date soon and will be encouraging young people to sign up to attend. As well as workshops on relationships they'll also be an art session and private hire of a skatepark, so well worth getting involved! We also aim to place vandal proof signs at popular skate spots across the city. The signs will let anyone suffering abuse know that there is help for them and where they can access it.

Abuse in our culture and scene diminishes skateboarding for everyone, it affects everyone. We want all skate spaces to be safe spaces.

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