James/Cipres announce retirement

Ena Grins

Active Member
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62
After spending a large portion of my time in grad school studying feminist legal theory, the answer to this is unfortunately yes.

Maybe she didn't know, but I think it's more likely she did. Maybe she enabled him, or maybe she tried to ignore it, or maybe she tried to prevent the abuse going on at their rink.

I have absolutely no idea. Part of my brain thinks that she could have spoken out, even in an incredibly vague way, but I understand why there would be internal and external pressures not to.

People make sweeping assumptions about how others react when they are involved in a situation with abuse. The one (and hopefully only) time I served on a jury, we got into an extended argument after another juror said a partner would never stay with an abusive partner. I asked her what she thought about O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown, and she said, "That was different because they were married." My head almost exploded.

Even if I knew Vanessa, I wouldn't assume anything about what she knew or didn't. Logic doesn't operate in an objective manner, especially when there is a cocktail of forces like age difference, power imbalance, pressure on athletes to succeed, maintaining a veneer of team morale, coaches protecting athletes or vice/versa, etc.

So my reaction is "bye" but also my thoughts are with the survivors and not Vanessa.

This is so well-put, especially the last sentence. Thank you.
 

misskarne

Handy Emergency Backup Mode
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22,359
The cynical part of me wondered if they were going to attempt a comeback this season, when restrictions meant they would not really be travelling out of France to compete and events are likely to take place behind closed doors - thus, no crowd to boo and call him out.

The fact that he is going to be involved in their pairs program - presumably with girls the same age as his victim, and impressionable young boys who might absorb his attitude as "normal" - is just further proof that nothing has really changed at the FFSG and they should have been nuked.

As for James - well, I have my doubts about what she knew and when.
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
25,135
Maybe she didn't know, but I think it's more likely she did. Maybe she enabled him, or maybe she tried to ignore it, or maybe she tried to prevent the abuse going on at their rink.

I have absolutely no idea. Part of my brain thinks that she could have spoken out, even in an incredibly vague way, but I understand why there would be internal and external pressures not to.

This.

That's what I can get over. Though I don't remember her being active about it. Just not condemning him. Which is bad enough for me.

To add to what @Aerobicidal said, Vanessa may have tried to speak out, and been shushed. She may have been afraid for her future, excepting that a solo skating professional career would not deliver the same rewards as a pair professional career. She may have felt combined by the 'nice girl' expectations of so many figure skaters, particularly in the west. And by the high status that male pair skaters have due to their relative scarcity vis a vis female pair skater. Also, this was about the guy she trusts to throw and lift her safely.

TBH I can sort of understand why Vanessa might have held back. She might have expected to be silenced if she spoke up, she might even have tried to speak up and been silenced by her team, her friends and her family. Or she might have feared for her future - a future skating solo may not be as rewarding as a future skating in a pair, or might not have been, with 22 almost in sight.

I don't admire her, and quite frankly see her as weak in this situation. But the sad truth is that a lot more people are likely to stay silent in such situations (when someone they are close to behaves in a wrong/immoral/illegal way) than speak up. That's why they make movies heroizing those people, and those movies are usually about men.

There are relatively few stories about women who take on the system and win. For example, there a wonderful movie made some years ago about the first class-action or first gender-based class action issued in the US. 'North Country', with Charlize Theron (and Francis McCormand). It pertained to abuses against women who worked in a mine. It was a very fine film, very highly underrated, and didn't get any attention come Oscar time (though less deserving than 'Milk' or award attention).

That's neither her nor there, but I do wish there were more role models of women fighting the system.


So my reaction is "bye" but also my thoughts are with the survivors and not Vanessa.

ITA.
 

MsZem

Well-Known Member
Messages
17,382
Cipres sent dick pics to a child. Why is the discussion about the extent to which a woman should be held accountable for his wrongdoing?

Vanessa James wasn't in a position of authority, as far as we know she didn't abuse anyone, and she was put in a very bad position by people she should have been able to trust. I don't envy her.
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
25,135
Like your post MsZem.

I for one are not holding her accountable. See my previous post.

I don't envy here either, rather the opposite. Her world and her career have had a very large-shake up. Any hopes of a medal at 22 Olympics - or of just going there and doing their utmost best - are shot. And it's not her doing.
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
21,753
Cipres sent dick pics to a child. Why is the discussion about the extent to which a woman should be held accountable for his wrongdoing?
She should be held accountable for her own wrongdoing, not his.

I don't know the specifics of her situation, but I do know that people all too often react to unsavory revelations about family, friends, and colleagues with silence instead of vocal disapproval.
 

Aceon6

Isolating from mean people
Messages
25,979
At the time, Vanessa’s silence didn’t surprise me and it still doesn’t. For the sake of her own mental health and to buy time to decide what to do, she may have put the whole thing in a mental box and locked it away. “I can’t deal so I won’t deal” is a very common response to any personal tragedy, especially when people that you’re very close to disappoint you.
 

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