A gentle note to our readers that this piece may be triggering. As always, take care of you.
By Chelsea Noel
In April 2015, I was raped. He was the owner of a dispensary in Gastown, as well as a local hip-hop performer. He drove me home one night in his Jeep. He pulled over on a residential street in East Vancouver. He wanted to have sex. I didn’t. I said no. He asked again. I said maybe another night, I’m tired. He begged. I said no. He grabbed a condom out of his glove box. He unbuckled his seatbelt. He climbed on top of me. He pumped. He tossed the condom out the window and onto the street. I don’t remember how long it lasted; the act itself has been blocked from my memory.It took me awhile to acknowledge what happened. Months later, I decided I wanted to file a police report. I never pictured myself as someone who would second guess seeking retribution after an assault. I may barely stand at five feet tall but I’m a scrappy little girl, even still, I felt as though speaking publicly could threaten my safety as this is a high profile individual.On a summer afternoon, I went to the Vancouver Police Department after work to file my report. Understandably, my report wasn’t a priority so I was told to wait until an officer became available. I spent a couple hours waiting on the steps outside the VPD detachment, stewing in my anxious thoughts before an officer finally approached me. I was told to go home and wait for another officer to arrive. They would take my statement then. In the meantime, I was instructed to grab a pen and paper and recount that entire night.
At home, I cracked open my journal and wrote down what happened that night. Every single detail jotted tore another hole in my stomach.
Well into the evening, two officers finally arrived to take my statement. I haven’t reread what I wrote that night and I’m not sure I want to.
Unfortunately, like many people in my situation come to realize, there was not enough evidence to prosecute and his high powered lawyers insisted I cease and desist.
It is a shame that many women, such as myself, are fearful to speak out about situations like these, especially when the perpetrator is a high profile individual. The #MeToo movement, and particularly the Harvey Weinstein allegations that have recently come to light have inspired me to come forward. I want to ensure that these predators are held responsible for their actions and that no woman feels unsafe to file a report.
I am now speaking out as I have relocated and no longer feel as though speaking publicly could threaten my safety. Today, this scrappy little girl isn’t standing down. She is telling her story.