Friday, March 23, 2012

My Assault- by Jessica Mason-Paull

UPDATE April 5th 2012: There have now been 7 people come forward to share their accounts at the hands of my same Perpetrator. That's eight in total, 7 accounts of sexual assault and one account of attempted sexual assault.

Trigger Warning: This is my account of what happened.

My reason for sharing this story now, years after it happened is because I found out very recently that there are two other women who have been a part of our community who have had similarly negative experiences with this man.
The first woman I contacted two weeks ago expressing an interest in hearing her experience with this man. 

She said she was shocked and saddened to hear I had a negative experience sexually with him and shared her story. She had been having casual sexual relations with him for a few weeks five years ago and during penetrative sex the final time they had sex she started to experience pain and asked him to stop several times and he did not. She used force to prevent him from hurting her anymore and stopped seeing him immediately afterwards and moved to Vancouver island 

 She has not been at the Poetry Slam or other poetry events in Vancouver since that time. She does not want her name to be public knowledge.

The second woman who had negative experiences sexually with this man approximately three years ago, has been contacted multiple times by me and has not responded to my requests for more information. I do not have first hand knowledge of her experiences, but two individual report that are send hand to me from people who heard first hand from her. She does not come to poetry events regularly anymore.
Here is my experience:

6 years ago when I was new to Vancouver I discovered the poetry slam. A few months after, I was really upset, but I decided to leave the house because I didn't want to be alone missing my family. I came to a poetry event and there I was introduced to a member of the community. I was happy to be talking to anyone and we spoke throughout the night. At the end of the evening he asked if he could walk me home and I said "yes". When I arrived home I explained that I had work in the morning and it was very kind of him to walk me home, but I had to go to bed. 

He was extremely persistent in his asking to stay and made excuses for not being able to leave including that his buses weren't running anymore.
When I realized he wasn't leaving I offered him my couch. He was visibly angered and offended by the offer of my couch and insisted he stay in my bedroom. I lived alone at the time and my neighbour was away. With no one else to call upon, I saw no option but to allow him to stay in my bed. He then insisted that we have intercourse even though I was explaining that I was really upset about my mum and wanted to go to sleep. By now it was 4 or 5am and I was exhausted and scared. I lay still while he penetrated me, afraid he would use force. After intercourse he fell asleep and I got up for work in the morning.

A few days went by and I was contacted by him online. He wanted to see me again and as we went to poetry events it was inevitable that we would cross paths. The second time he came to my house was after another poetry event which I left by myself. He came to my house unannounced and wore me down again until I would have intercourse with him. During and after intercourse this time I was visibly crying. I was too afraid to stop him with force, partly because he was stronger than me and partly because  I wanted it to be over quickly.

The next day after him leaving letters on my door at my home I asked to meet with him at a coffee shop. When he arrived I told him I did not want to see him anymore, he was under the impression that we were "dating" and tried to guilt me in response. Luckily this was the end of him showing up to my house. I moved a few weeks after, afraid for my safety.

I didn't tell anyone what had happened, as he made it seem as though he was in a position of authority within the community. The next time I went to a poetry event it turned out everyone already knew that he had had sex with me as he had been bragging to multiple people about it. I felt really ashamed and lonely. To this day I regularly see him at our events and have always been civil to him.

I want this man to get help and stop him from doing this to others. He is clearly unaware that he is abusing women's trust. I see his behaviour as unacceptable and something we can help him address as a community.

I am telling you all this because I don't want this to happen to anyone else. I don't want to be part of a community where we let this happen and people don't report what has happened to them because they are afraid. I do not believe that people at the slam are safe enough unless we create an accountability plan for our community.


  1. I support you in your honesty and ablity to be open, the attention to detail is helpful and puts it all in context. In this 'community' lines are very faded and uncertain. This statement will force our 'community' to open up a platform for all of us to hold ourselves accountable, and hopefully create a realization,a ripple affect where Everyone can speak freely.

  2. Thank-you for being brave enough to share your story. I've experienced my own forms of abuse, with people who I thought I could trust; if was subtle, gradual, and by the time I realized what was happening, I felt as though it was too late, that it was my fault for not choosing to leave, and that I had nowhere to go and that no one would believe me.

    Again, thank-you. You're a braver person than I.