Metro Vancouver Kink Society (“MVK”) is the largest kink non-for-profit organization in Western Canada and is being sued for acting to protect the community.
In the fall of 2016, a Fetlife member posted about multiple instance of abuse by a well known Vancouver area top. This individual runs events at his home, and had largely left the public community. As the smoke cleared from that post, people began coming forward with accounts of abuse both by this man directly and by others at the events he hosts in his home. There were meetings held in his home, at his request. The MVK board held space for people to come forward in confidence and share their experiences.
MVK held two town hall meetings for its community and finally published an open letter providing a summary of those accounts ( to protect the privacy of the victims) and stating that MVK would not support, recommend, or rent space from this person.
Now both MVK and each board member individually is being sued for speaking out and these board members have been outed. Two more lawsuits were filed against 4 more members of our community. In total, he's suing 15 people to keep them from speaking.
In Canada, truth is a defence. Statements made in the public interest are also protected from libel. MVK is willing to see this through rather than pretend that the victims were lying and apologize to the person who caused harm.
But the fight isn’t cheap. MVK has lawyers who are donating their time and energy, but going to trial is expensive and cannot be done pro bono. When we were unable to settle, MVK had to hire a law firm, and is now in the process of trying to get the case dismissed under new anti-SLAPP legislation.
More and more, communities are asking their leaders to speak out, to call out the ‘missing stairs’ who prey on new people and who cause harm. But there’s a cost to that. MVK and the individual board members are paying that cost right now in stress, time, loss of privacy, and in money.
We can only help with the money part. If this is your community, pitch in. Even if it’s not your community, even if you’re in another country, help see that this doesn’t set a terrifying precedent where community organizations and community leaders cannot speak out, and where abusers have no fear of being called out.
No community is safe if organizations and individuals cannot speak out. Please help MVK and show that we'll all come together to support each other.