Student of ours' committed a crime, now feeling conflicted

As a female [24] who goes to a dojo with a man [30sM] who physically assaulted my best friend [30sF], let me offer you my two cents.

This occurred in my old dojo where we practiced different martial arts. When I learned my friend and classmate was being physically assaulted at home by her boyfriend and my classmate, I encouraged her to leave him. She eventually did and moved far away.

She was a white belt. I was a yellow belt. Her (now ex) boyfriend and my good friend [34M] were both brown belts.

As a survivor of sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence, I did not feel safe returning to the dojo. I stalled for about a month. Then our Sensei fell ill and suspended classes.

I couldn’t tell our ill Sensei. I was still too afraid to tell the other brown belt. I don’t want a target on my back and I don’t want to stir up drama.

While ill, Sensei awarded them both their black belts.

I feel personally responsible for allowing a terrible person like that to be awarded a black belt, especially because he wants to teach. However, as a person that is very much beneath his station, I don’t think I can stand up to him or report him to his equal or superior. I do not feel safe and I worry for the safety of others he may encounter, whether they know it or not.

(Incidentally, these events are why I started BJJ in a new gym a couple of months ago.)

It is possible that others in your class will hear about this, since the crime was reported. It is possible there is a woman in your class with a history of abuse or assault that she has not shared with her classmates for her personal reasons (as I have not shared mine).

It shouldn’t have to be your responsibility to tell anybody. However, as a senior to this man who his being charged, you are in a good position to bring this to your head instructor. That person can choose what to do from there, including whether or not the man is allowed back in or if he tells any of your classmates.

/r/bjj Thread