4-time IBJJF World Champion Claudia Do Val has alleged that her former mentor and coach, Red belt and legend of the sport, Ricardo De La Riva of sexual misconduct. Speaking to host Paola Diana on the latest episode of “Unleashed: The Game Changers” Do Val accuses De La Riva of violating what she believed to be was like a father-daughter relationship.
In a very emotional state and on the verge of tears, Do Val began to explain the details of the alleged assault:
“So, what happened was, we were talking on the WhatsApp one day and he sent me a message saying Oh, I’m going to your home so you can give me a massage”.
“I was very naive towards him, and you can I was stupid because I was 25 or 26 at the time. I was very naive because it never crossed my mind that I was a woman and he was a man and because he is like my dad, so I was very naive”.
“I panicked a little bit, but I was trying to convince myself that it was okay. I’m like, Well, he’s my dad. It’s normal if your dad goes to your house and asks for a massage. It’s normal but then I was thinking, I hope he’s just kidding.’ I just kept on with my life, and then he sent a message, I’m going there. I’m going to be there soon.”
“I got a little upset but then I was like, Well, it’s fine, my dad is coming over for a massage and it’s fine. I kept telling myself that.”
“Finally, he got to my home. He asked for a massage. My heart was like almost leaving my body, but I was like, it’s going to be over soon. I hope he leaves. Then, the massage was over, and then he was like, Okay, it’s my turn now”.
“He started touching me”.
“I didn’t say ‘No. I didn’t stop him, because… I was dying inside. I hate him so much, because even though I didn’t say no with my voice, I’m sure was my body language was saying No, because I was a statue. I was petrified, and he kept going. He kept going the whole way.
“I blamed myself so much for this because I didn’t say no, with my voice”
She was then asked by Diana, if she was abused by him.
“I don’t know if I can call it abuse because I wasn’t able to say no, but my body – I was petrified inside. I was dying inside; I didn’t know what to think. Did he ever like me as a student? He’s a married man. Did he ever like me as his daughter?”
“I was dying inside. I was so upset he kept going, like he was enjoying himself. I was just hoping I would die, and then it was over. I didn’t know what to do with my life. It was just like my life was over; I didn’t know what to do. I was like, Can I leave the gym?”
“My house was right in front of the gym – it was like, if I leave the gym, they’re going to ask why I did. What do I say? Everyone’s going to say it’s my fault because I didn’t voice it. I didn’t tell him to stop. Is it my fault? I couldn’t tell anybody. It took me two years to tell the first person about it because I kept thinking in my heart that it was my fault.”
Do Val then alleges that Mr De la Riva sent a message wanting to continue with it.
She said, “I was like, no, no, no way, And he was also twice my age and I said, no, that’s not something that I want”.
Do Val said she was trying to forget that it ever happened but De la Riva “tried to pursue it.”
“He tried to come over to my house more time, and he sometimes during training, he would say stuff only I would understand about what happened, and I would get so mad, because he knew how much I didn’t want that. He would talk about it like it was the most amazing thing for me, and it wasn’t.”
Do Val said the fear of being blamed for the incident prevented her from initially speaking out.
Since this has all come to light, Ricardo De La Riva has issued a statement. You can see the statement in full HERE.
You can watch the full interview below. She discusses the matters above at the 45-minute mark.