I am writing this because I want to clarify exactly what happened and what led me to make the decision to speak out.
I joined twitter because I am a Red Wings fan living in Calgary and I wanted to connect with more Red Wing fans. For the most part, the people I’ve met through twitter and the connections I’ve made have been nothing short of amazing. In fact, I met my fiancé on Twitter, so I know that there is a way that you can interact on twitter and have it work.
Adrian Dater started following me on Twitter about 2 years ago. Our conversations over direct messages were always about hockey. I can’t say I was surprised when it moved into him complimenting my avatars. I was never offended by it in any way. However, when he gave me his email and asked me for that "before the crop" picture, I was offended. I wasn’t quite sure why he felt that he could ask me that. The sad truth of the situation is that while I was upset, I didn’t think much else of it because that’s something I’ve had happen before.
Women have to deal with so much harassment in so many different ways and at the time what Dater did seemed almost normal for me. I always tried to make excuses as to why he would have said that. Ultimately I ended up showing a couple of my close friends who had to point out that what he had done was harassment and very unprofessional. I obviously wanted to speak out but it’s not as easy as people think. The idea of people blaming me for it was so terrifying. The thought of facing backlash and having that dark cloud over me forever was extremely scary, it just didn’t seem worth it.
I didn’t talk to him after he sent me his email until the Cody McLeod hit on Niklas Kronwall. We started messaging due to me disagreeing with his take on the hit. When he told me that he wouldn’t argue with me because I was a woman, that’s when I stopped feeling bad for him. Why weren’t my opinions valid to him? Why wouldn’t he argue with me? Because I have breasts? Is that actually why?
It’s so incredibly deflating when someone who has a prominent position in the industry tells you that. I struggled so hard with wanting to just show everyone that. I didn’t ever want him to get fired. I didn’t even want him to get in trouble. I simply wanted him to apologize - apologize because I deserve as much of an opinion as any man.
When the news broke out about Steve Lepore, I knew that as a woman I had a responsibility to be brave the way that Toni McIntyre was. She was so brave and the response she got was mostly positive. I’ve gotten to meet so many wonderful people who work in the media and I know that they’re all great people who are respectful and professional. I filled myself with courage and I decided to finally act upon the things I’ve been preaching.
I’m writing this because I’m still scared. Because I don’t know why I’ve been blamed for the repercussions he’s faced. I didn’t ask him to say those things. I never asked for any of this. I just want to have the right to love hockey like every man does. I want to be able to wear red lipstick without people thinking it’s an invitation to hit on me. I want to wear the hockey jersey of my favorite player without being called a puckslut. I want to be confident and comfortable in my body without it being an invitation to be sexually harassed.
Men have to be held accountable. Our community will never change if we don’t speak out now. This isn’t about me or about Adrian Dater. This is about women being able to make the choice to love hockey and to be treated like hockey fans.
I want to thank everyone who has shown support through this entire thing. I hope women can feel like it’s okay to speak out and to demand fair treatment. Finally, I want to wish Adrian a healthy recovery and the all the luck.