My own rape story from the gaming community. Shane DeFreest.
This is very difficult to write. A female friend if mine once told me "every woman gets one." She wasn't wrong. Coming out against abusers is already hard. Coming out about multiple abusers is even harder. Those who follow me and know what I've gone through the past year and a half, know how hard it's been. Having my hand forced by my abuser in the anime world who outed himself meant he was my one. But not today. I will stand with my sisters and Enbies this day as many of them have come forward about their experiences in the gaming community. Luckily for me, my abuser was ostracized already, but only because it was a repeated pattern and people had finally had enough.
I was raped by Shane DeFreest. But it was so much more than rape. It was calculated. And truly evil what he did. He planned every step. Every moment. He knew what he wanted and went through great lengths to get it.
In 2014 I was hired by Obsidian Entertainment to make costumes for them for their convention run of Pillars of Eternity. Having made costumes for anime companies since 2004, I moved onto video games in 2012 because of some bad experiences listed above and the gaming industry offered something the anime community couldn't. Way more money. Shane was my boss and the newly hired Obsidian employee in charge of conventions. I knew Shane for years from LoJ and he even hired me to be the Toreador Anti Tribu model in the newest editions of the Vampire of the Masquerade guide books. He always gave me a weird vibe, but the people around me convinced me he was a good person. I was contracted to work two conventions for OE. Gencon and PAX Prime. Both of which I was very excited about. Both for the experience and I'd make enough money that summer to set me up through the winter, when the industry is dead. I made a costume for myself and the other model working the con with me. My costume was very modest with armor based on a character in the game.
I was originally to be rooming with the other model, who I had known for years and liked a lot. The layout of the rooms were as follows: a two bedroom room, where the Devs would be, a giant shared area, Shane's room, and a two bedroom that was supposed to be mine and the other model's and they were all connected. When we arrived at the hotel, I was made aware I was no longer rooming with the other model and I was to be in the huge bedroom, that was isolated, by myself. I said I didn't want to Devs to have to get an additional room, that there was more than enough space, but Shane insisted.
The first night after a day on the floor, I was dumped via text. I was very upset. We all went to dinner and Shane said I should keep drinking to forget him. I made sure to eat a lot so that I wouldn't get drunk, then we went to a party. It ended up being pretty boring, so we went to a drag show. The other model decided she was done for the night and went back to the hotel. At the drag show, Shane kept bringing me drinks. Feeling obligated, I took them and enjoyed the show. I don't remember how we got back to the hotel. I don't know why Shane had followed me into my room. I immediately went to the bathroom to vomit and crashed onto my bed. The next thing I remember is him on to off me and me crying because I was in so much pain. It was the only reason he stopped. At this point, my endometriosis had progressed a lot and unless you are 100% into it, it's incredibly painful.
The next morning I woke up unsure what happened. Shane came into my room to "smooth things over" and I was concentrated on getting ready to work. It was going to be a brutal day. As the days went on, it slowly started to sink in what had happened. That he had planned it all along. That he isolated me for a reason. The last day of the con, I just couldn't even smile anymore. The other model, who knew what had happened, walked the long walk to the con with me and I told her I am pretty sure I had been raped. She said she didn't know how to tell me and thought I'd figure it out.
At the end of the show, Shane wanted a group photo and I just looked miserable. He insisted I be next to him for the photo and I showed no emotion.
I was already contracted for PAX and needed the money. I made sure MULTIPLE times that it was me and the other model this time. Shane felt my costume should be sexier, but didn't tell me until I got to the show. He told me I had to meet him at a fetish store downtown, but I got lost. I ended up walking 5 miles to get there. I was exhausted and in a ton of pain and picked out the least ridiculous bodice I could find. And had to stay up all night creating a new costume.
That night at dinner, I couldn't sit straight because of how much pain I was in (I have chronic pain) and was very cranky. Plus having to spend any time with Shane was awful.
Working the con got my mind off of it. I love working cons. I loved showing people how to play the game. For lunch, the other model and I would take it together. I ended up liking one of my teammates and would spend the night in his room. We ended up dating for a couple years.
The second night of the con, Shane showed up to my room I was sharing with the other model and was waiting for me. She was covering for me, saying I was still at a party, but I'm sure Shane suspected I was with the other teammate. He stayed for an hour waiting for me until the model finally told him to leave because she needed to sleep.
The third day, Shane told me I was longer allowed to take lunch with the other model and said I was to take lunch with him. My heart sank. As we are sitting in the booth waiting to order, he comes out with "people on the team think you are being a bitch," which wasn't true, everyone reported they loved working with me. I told him if I was doing a bad job, he should send me home. He IMMEDIATELY changed his tune and said "no you're doing a great job, everyone loves interacting with you" and I said then I don't know what the problem is. He starts droaning on and on and I just cant take it anymore and in the middle of this busy restaurant I screamed "YOU RAPED ME." He went really quiet. Started to claim he couldn't possibly since he hates rapists blah blah then he changes his tune again. Starts blaming be me. Said I wanted it. I was like, before or after my head was in the toilet?? Explained about endometriosis and sex.
He then acted like everything was fine. I didn't even eat. We went back to the floor and I'm trying to work, but he keeps coming up to me and trying to talk to me. Eventually he asks "are you sure you don't remember anything?" I told him I explained everything I remember. He then says, no joke, "oh. Ive just never had a woman not remember me go down on them before." I. Was. Mortified.
He was fired from Obsidian shortly after. I only told a few people. He would message me periodically to tell be my new photos were sexy or whatever. I blocked him from everything. I found out a couple years ago he'd been ostracized from the gaming and vampire community because more women had come forward. He then secluded himself and told everyone he was "working on himself and his behavior."
I started limiting how many cons I went to. How many jobs I took. It broke me. Someone I KNEW was not a good person, but was told over and over again he was a good person.
He's a predator. A liability. And a con man.