Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault Is Common Among Gaming Content Creators
My story isn't a new one, especially for women in the game industry. You hear a #MeToo story like mine so often, you may start to become numb to what a horrible thing sexual assault is. For a long time, I was afraid to say anything. I was worried it would ruin me as a content creator because my attacker had influence and a small place of power within the game industry. I've seen strong and brave women come forward about their experiences with assault, unwanted advances and discomfort forced on them by men and fellow content creators in our industry. It makes me angry and less afraid to share my story. I can't control what happens if I share this, but not staying silent may prevent it from happening to someone else.
In December 2018, I was sexually assaulted by a well known former Influencer Relations Manager and Twitch Content Creator who now works at Logitech. We met for drinks at his hotel bar to catch up. He'd reached out to me about being in Seattle and I agreed to meet because I figured it couldn't hurt to build more rapport with him due to his role at Reverb and we were friendly after all. Beforehand I'd arranged to sleep in his room in a separate bed to avoid drinking and driving due to my apartment being about 45-minutes away so I could relax. I knew he had a girlfriend, who I'd met a few times and we were friendly enough that I wasn't worried when he offered to take the couch in his room and let me have the bed.
A year prior to this, I had been date raped and was finally in a place where I felt I could more easily trust people, especially acquaintances in the industry like him. This came after a lot of work on my mental health and dealing with my PTSD. I didn't see the signs or signals that someone I called a friend might violate me. I'm also not and never was attracted to him, so I didn't flirt or anything like that. From my perspective, he wasn't flirting either, which is why what happened shocked me. The event also triggered my PTSD. I've been dealing with shame and depression since it happened and am only now getting back on my feet mentally and emotionally.
I am a very light sleeper. I also have a condition called hypersensitivity that affects me when touched. I'd had 2-3 drinks over several hours with him at the hotel bar and I was incredibly tired, so I showered, changed into clothes from my gym bag that I keep in my car and got into bed. That's when it got weird. First, he insisted on sleeping in the bed instead of on the couch. I figured, we're just friends, so after some protest, I said it was fine, but after getting into bed, he snuggled himself up against my body, so I pushed him away, said go to bed and put myself all the way onto the edge of the right side of the bed facing inward. I dozed off quickly after that.
I started to rouse very groggily at first and assume I wasn't asleep very long. I could sense it was still dark out, but fear kept up inside me as I felt him very close to me, his breath hot on my face, then I felt his hand down my pants and his fingers inside me. He was digitally penetrating me and this was a nightmare, especially after my rape a year prior. I shoved him and said, "What the fuck are you doing?" I rolled over and he said nothing, while facing away from him, I was starting to panic, my adrenaline was kicking in making me more alert. I sat up, turned the lights on grabbed my stuff and left the room. I don't remember even saying anything as I left except, "I've got to get home." I ran to my car in the parking garage and continued to hyperventilate and started to sob. I felt shame, anger, rage at him and myself. I thought, how could I let this happen again. I texted a friend who knew about my rape and his response was, "Maybe you shouldn't have put yourself in that situation. He was probably just drunk." Excusing both the predatory behavior and reinforcing the common act of victim blaming not to mention my shame about it.
He was flying home to California the next day. I texted him to confront him, but I was afraid that my reaction to what he did would negatively impact me as a Content Creator. So, to ensure it didn't hurt my partnerships or my career as a content creator and game industry professional, I smoothed it over, let him off the hook and only said, "Thanks for the drinks last night, glad we caught up. I left because you were drunk and handsy with me. We are friends and I wasn't into it, so I figured taking off was for the best." I also said something about us both being in the industry and not wanting to make waves. I'm so mad at myself for doing that. His response was, "Yeah, I'm glad you got back safe. Appreciate that. My apologies and thank you 🙏."
In 2019, I saw him again at E3. I was so uncomfortable to be at a party he was at. I told the person I was with what he'd done and she said something like, "Yeah, same here." So I could only assume he's a handsy repeat offender. Some months later his then fiance showed up in one of my streams for the Xbox Ambassadors channel. Instantly I was paranoid he'd somehow spun what had happened and made me the instigator in his version of events. My PTSD episodes got really bad after that and I'm still fighting to get back to a good place. You never get over being violated like that. You just find ways to cope with the flashbacks, nightmares, shame, etc. It took a long time to stop blaming myself for what he did. It doesn't matter if he was drinking, that doesn't excuse bad and predatory behavior, especially sexually assaulting someone.
I recently found out he's been sexually explicit or inappropriate with other people I care about and I'm not going to be silent anymore, because it's eating away at me and keeping what he did a secret isn't helping anyone, but him. LoboStylez sexually assaulted me on Thursday, December 6th, 2018 at the Hyatt House Seattle and meeting him there for a friendly chat and drinks will haunt me as one of the worst decisions I've ever made. I'll never be able to forget it.
You can do with this information what you want. This isn't about revenge for what he did or hurting him because he hurt me. He made his choices and I'm not going to protect him anymore. It makes me sick I ever pushed it under the rug to begin with. Trauma like that stays with you forever and if I get canceled for telling the truth, fuck it.