One year ago, Mia Yim (then known as GFW Knockout Jade) shared her story of domestic violence with the Huffington Post. Since then, Mia has been an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and has continuously supported organizations such as Safe Horizon.
In a new follow-up interview with Huffington Post, Mia looks back at how much has changed since she shared her story and reaction in taking part of WWE’s Mae Young Classic. Highlights of the interview below.
Reaction to sharing her story one later: “Incredible! I am shocked with how far and wide the story went. So often we only hear stories of the abuser, and when a survivor does come forward, they are blamed with, ‘She’s just lying and looking for attention,’ or ‘Why didn’t she just leave?’ I did get some of those comments, but I tried to ignore the negativity and focus on the amazing support I did get from so many fans and wrestlers. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I wasn’t alone.”
Thoughts on critics who believe domestic violence is a “private matter”: “Well, it being ‘private’ is what the abuser intends it to be. They thrive on silence and manipulation. They seem like the perfect person in public, but ’in private’ they are monsters. So why should I continue to feed into that? Those who think that way can continue to do so. I’m too busy raising awareness, as loud as I can, helping those that feel stuck.”
How wrestling has evolved around the issue of domestic violence: “It’s a work in progress. But 10 years ago, I probably wouldn’t be wrestling after coming forward. I spoke to veteran female wrestlers like Madusa/Alunda Blayze and she said back then it was really different. You couldn’t talk about domestic violence at all. And I think that was not only true in wrestling, but our society as a whole. I think the culture is starting to shift little by little. We can talk about it more openly. It’s not the victim’s fault.”
Taking part in the Mae Young Classic: “It was a dream come true. I’m excited for everyone to see it. Women for so long have fought to be taken as serious athletes and not just “eye candy,” and so this validates us as equals to the men. I also made sure to incorporate the purple nail into my entrance, because my experience with domestic violence has been a big part of my journey. I want to show other survivors you can still achieve your dreams after an abusive relationship. Lita [WWE hall of famer and announcer for the tournament] was actually my childhood hero and inspiration for me to get into wrestling. After I told her my story, she said, ‘Hey, do you have purple nail polish?’ She didn’t have to do that. That blew me away. I look up to her even more now.”
Mia also discusses memorable reactions to her story and the importance of supporting organizations such as Safe Horizon.