Vancouver nightlife: Survivors share stories of rape, insiders decry “dark cloud” of sexual violence

By Will Young

Survivors of sexual assault carried out by leading figures in Vancouver’s nightlife scene are sharing their stories and insiders are speaking out against a “dark cloud” of sexual violence hanging over the industry.

A number of survivors have shared their harrowing stories of rape and sexual assault by leading figures in the industry including venue owners, DJs and promoters under the viral hashtag #metoo.

(ThinkPol does not identify victims of sexual assault without their permission.)

One Vancouver nightlife photographer wrote a harrowing post about how, as a teenager, she was raped while being unconscious by a 40-year-old Vancouver DJ.

She writes how venue owners who are aware of the incident are still booking her to photograph her assailant’s events.

Another wrote a chilling account of being sexually assaulted by a prominent Vancouver DJ and promoter while on a tinder date.

“I ask him numerous times to stop and try to push him away,” the victim wrote. “The more I said no or stop, the more aggressive he became while kissing me and touching me until he pinned me against the wall and forcibly undid my pants.”

“I barely remember screaming ‘no please stop’ because the sound was so horrifying I still can’t believe it came from my body,” she added. “All I can remember after that is apologizing a dozen times saying I was sorry but I really had to leave over and over again promising I would go on another date with him until he finally moved out of the way of the door so I could leave.”

Meanwhile, men are calling on fellow men to stop protecting the perpetrators and do more to protect women and girls from sexual predators who prey on them at Vancouver’s nightlife venues.

“DJs and Promoters and Venue owners are literally acting like nothing has happened or is happening and moving on with life like it isn’t an issue that a number of their colleagues are being accused by MULTIPLE women of sexual assault and abuse,” Victor Spencer, the founder of cultural collective CATO, wrote in a Facebook post[1]https://www.facebook.com/iamCATO/posts/10155741159613433. “This is a major issue. Probably the biggest issue you could possibly have in the nightlife industry.”

“These are employees and patrons, around other employees that they thought they could trust,” Spencer added. “How can you see this all come out, having been a part of the industry for years, and just sit there idly and not even acknowledge that it’s happening?”

Spencer urged the men to stop protecting friends who are perpetrating these crimes.

“This entire situation is incredibly sad for everyone involved,” Spencer added. “There is a dark cloud (literally & figuratively) over our city right now.”

Spencer’s words were echoed by Canadian rapper KAi Williams who goes by the name KAi Sky Walker.

“This is now a major call out to all the influential, powerful men in our community who have remained silent during this time of awakening,” Williams wrote in a Facebook post[2]https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=584203488578371&id=100009661746507. “Still waiting for y’all to speak and support these brave women for telling their darkest secrets for greater good.”

Vancouver’s nightlife industry has come under intense scrutiny after a Kamloops, BC woman who is alleging that she was drugged and brutally raped at Vancouver’s Twelve West nightclub filed a lawsuit claiming $18 million in damages against the business Thursday for negligence and destroying evidence of the incident[3]https://thinkpol.ca/2017/10/20/vancouver-nightclub-sued-over-rape-destroying-evidence/.

[Photo Credit: Tom Magliery]

References   [ + ]

1. https://www.facebook.com/iamCATO/posts/10155741159613433
2. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=584203488578371&id=100009661746507
3. https://thinkpol.ca/2017/10/20/vancouver-nightclub-sued-over-rape-destroying-evidence/

2 Responses to Vancouver nightlife: Survivors share stories of rape, insiders decry “dark cloud” of sexual violence

  1. Hi there,

    We’re a group of Vancouverites fighting to end all forms of violence against women. Please join our page Vancouver Ending Violence Against Women

    https://www.facebook.com/vevawvan/

    Thank you,

  2. BB says:

    Thank you for your contribution to this discussion, but I would like to request that you adapt the language of referring to survivors of sexual assault as “victims.” There is stigmatization in the word “victim,” and “survivor” is preferred.
    I would also like to suggest that this article is too gendered. While many of the call-outs that Vancouver has witnessed recently involve men assaulting women, gender should not be assumed. The nature of this article, the way it is written, dismisses the idea that sexual assault and gender-based violence can also exist in LGBTQIA+ scenes. In fact, if you’re arguing that the proliferation of rape culture is based more generally in Vancouver’s nightlife, you would have to acknowledge that some of the biggest nightlife events (hosted at the Cobalt, Fortune, Fox, others) are actually geared towards queer patrons.

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