Sexual harassment is a waste of time & energy. There are people you can pay to like you.
|Ever wanted to be close to sexual harassment without being sexually harassed? you can see what #melissatoo has been like for me!
It started when I posted an ad as a "roommaid" looking for reduced rent in exchange for work helping to manage bed and breakfasts. I was doing the same thing for work in Vancouver at the time, so it seemed logical.
The GOOD things: if it hadn't been for this giant nebbish in my life I wouldn't have met my absolutely fabulous Aussie flatmate (and witness to these events, with professional policy experience). Or a small group of 'nice, different, unusual' people I have good memories of Vancouver with.
And that's priceless.
My sexual harassment claim against DY who sexually harassed me in his position as both my landlord and employer finally progressed to a hearing after 2 years and 2 failed settlement attempts.
It was held September 10-12th 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia at the Human Rights Tribunal. The wheels of justice are slow. If they went any slower they'd be going in reverse.
I represented myself because the "free" legal advocates I was paired with '...can't afford to do hearings'. The claim process was a second language I was fluent in by then, so I felt confident enough in my legal skills. I was also advised: "...it's not unheard of to represent yourself at a hearing".
4% of claims go to hearing because as one legal advocate had put it: "...at the end of the day, one person is a liar, or one is guilty of sexual harassment".
Hearings go on PUBLIC record* (Just how public? See below...)
Would DY fear his prominent, rich, Jewish family becoming beyond veklempt? Enough to take responsibility for his actions and the aftermath?
I met the defendant the first time for a job interview at his regular dispensary/bloomery. An award-winning, beautiful family business and one of the most expensive in Vancouver. The owner's email addresses were private, I had to guess them to make witness requests (if you guess right in Gmail's "to" section a picture of the recipient pops up).
They were the only witnesses I had going to the hearing and only the husband supplied a statement.
The defendant gave me a free CBD latte at the place he called his "favourite" dispensary when he interviewed me there. We went there many, many times to shop and chat. Usually after cleaning his family's Airbnb at the loft building upstairs from it.
DY described me to these owners, (and anyone we met) as "his employee" and delighted in proclaiming that I "worked for" him.
I take a lot of pictures for some reason. Including the work I did for DY; a wicker loveseat restoration being the first. I used my chutzpah, my Subaru, ropes, and blankets to bring the large chair back to the house where we both resided. At DY's request, I proceeded to spray and hand paint it. He purchased the supplies.
Over 6 months of living/working at this house with an Airbnb and the other Airbnb location I; hung up things like towel racks because he didn't know what anchors were (everything he hung, fell out). Ironic, given the last name: Yacht. I fixed outdoor furniture, assembled furniture, did the garbage every week, cleaned the house & Airbnbs, helped with laundry from the Airbnb and baked THC infused cookies that DY happily partook in. I worked outside both properties; pruning, weeding, planting and digging in garden beds. I dog sat for his Old English sheepdog and even purchased items to go with the "Hawaiian" theme he had for one Airbnb.
I had a lot of evidence that supported my claim. DY didn't dispute taking me on a 2-hour hike to the University of British Columbia's wooded trails TO A SECLUDED LOCATION. He took a picture of me sitting next to his dog when we arrived there.
Then he got up, sat down next to me, put his arm around me and pulled me to the ground while trying to kiss me.
After grabbing me for a kiss we got up and left. The walk back to his car was silent and awkward.
Two days later, he sent me the picture he took that day; me next to his dog. He wrote, "we love you/love your smile". An awkward, ignorant attempt at courting? We were both in the house when he sent this text. I left to volunteer shortly after.
For another week, I politely declined his continued, increasingly aggressive (and therefore frightening) advances around the house. I saw him watching me from outside, he'd come in the kitchen when I was cooking but not speak to me, he started complaining about things he previously had no issue with and laying down bizarre new house rules, etc.
When I couldn't stand constantly having to rebuff him or his finding fault in everything I did, I finally decided to move out. This was hard, my female roommate and I had become good friends (we still are today). Before his inappropriate sexual conduct, I was happy with the work, in the house, the city and myself.
His response was immediately severing our working, tenant, and friend relationship(s).
After his attempted kiss, I asked DY to "chill". I pointed out that we "work and live together" and therefore "shouldn't date".
He didn't just ignore this out and opportunity to back off, he became more aggressive.
Picture it: he's 6'4", broad-shouldered and roughly 250 lbs.
I'm 5'6", slim and weigh 125 lbs.
He went to see a band called Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears a week later at a local brewery concert series. He invited me to go.
When he came back from the show I was outside, he came up to me and said: "they played a song that reminded me of you, it's called 'bitch I love you'".
I told him that was very inappropriate and he smiled at me menacingly but didn't respond.
That night he evicted me.
Not once, but 3 times (he served 2 notices; handwritten, none of them legal) and the next day he called the Vancouver police on me. DY told them I was "running a marijuana grow operation in my bedroom".
I was not at home at the time.
The patient, amused Vancouver police removed 2 vegetating (not containing THC) plants from the yard outside. Those hemp plants were destroyed at his request. Pretty nice from the man who owns a hemp wardrobe and listens to 'reggae' every day.
One valuable legal advocate and I tried settling with him for reasonable amounts. At the first mediation (a year before the tribunal hearing), we made an opening offer of $15,000. His counter was a final offer of $1500. My legal advocate said his offer was: "...insulting on an ethical and personal level".
DY never failed to behave like the 'person' (I use that term loosely) I claimed he was.
After realizing the law doesn't let you evict a tenant because she 'wouldn't date or sleep with you' and you're hurt and embarrassed, DY went on a month-long vacation to a "yoga festival" in Colorado. Saying he 'fled' isn't that far-fetched. He removed everything in and around the house that he had ever touched, used or put his DNA on. Yet he left me and my Aussie roommate in his very expensive house full of the rest of the very expensive items. I wasn't going to do anything in retaliation to him that she could have been held responsible for. But I don't think he knew or cared about the blowback.
When DY went to Aspen, Colorado he made an Instagram post of a woman holding an owl (I have a screenshot of this post).
He took the picture of her by zooming in from far away; the quality is poor but you can make her ample upper body shape and the owl on her hand.
He posted it with a flowery poem about 'Capistrano', 'rivers flowing', a comparison of beautiful women to salmon, and the comment: #nicesetofhootersyougotthere
This was after he was forced (by law) to issue me a proper 30-day eviction notice.
After he was notified of the sexual harassment claim against him.
DY accused me of "trying to blackmail" him (is this how blackmail works? 😂) He threatened to "tell" the organization I volunteered with and the native women's drum group I participated in about the incident. I'm not sure what he planned to "tell" my native sisters, but he may have limped home from it, as one woman put it.
Unless I dropped the sexual harassment claim.
My photos and screenshots gave a good frame of reference and timeline for the case. And why there was a claim in the first place.
DY's original email response to my roommaid ad states: he "wants to run a weed-friendly rental" on the "down-low" from Airbnb. Which is why there were pot plants on his premises to call the police about. He said in subsequent emails he specifically wanted "to offer me work in exchange for reduced rent" and we signed a landlord/tenant agreement.
As you can imagine from stories in the #metoo movement when DY said: "...NO ONE WILL BELIEVE YOU OVER ME" it was like being punched in my soul's face. This experience reinforced my lack of faith in "the system". I was a child and youth worker for 7 years in Ontario, so that 'lack of faith' was built on a cracked foundation already.
I know how the system "works"; it doesn't.
Not for the people in it. It works because of them. We're the meat that keeps the machine grinding. That gives people false confidence and very real arrogance based on bank balances. That keeps other people in $10,000 designer boots, and others in their place.
This experience was humiliating, degrading, exhausting, incredibly uncomfortable and unnecessary.
It shows you how far some men-sch will go when they want to buy someone's affection. And worse, when they refuse to accept they can't.
DY displayed his faith in 'rich v. poor' by trying to intimidate me NOT to file the claim in the first place. When he was in Colorado he messaged and emailed me that he'd "hired a (Vancouver) lawyer", to dissuade me. JJI "the lawyer" was his buddy from high school and even sent me a few personal emails on DY's behalf.
When I began directing correspondence from my advocates and the tribunal to 'lawyer buddy', I was quickly informed by that office that he "has and does NOT represent" DY 👌🏻😄
I was encouraged to file this sexual harassment human rights claim by an RCMP officer at UBC, 3 female lawyers, 1 female legal assistant, every woman who knew me and especially men and women who know DY.
My roomie at the time said: "...I know you're laid back, but he called the cops on you. He tried to take away your freedom and ruin your life because you wouldn't date him".
He threatened my ability to volunteer, which hurts other people.
Trainers in Burnaby will recall I volunteered there for 8 pawsome months! Before, during and until the 'David thing', then I moved away from Vancouver. I never told anyone there about the situation because I was ashamed.
I only missed ONE shift, the day my brakes failed. They'll happily tell you because they're happy people. We worked closely, I started at the end of the trainer's workdays and there was overlap. We appreciated each other as much as we all appreciated the assistance dogs! But not as much as I appreciate the opportunity.
I moved to a place with the kind of scenery that keeps me smiling and lower on the suicidal scale. Making this human rights claim for sexual harassment was not worth it.
Unless I'd been assaulted. The stakes just weren't there for proper legal representation or justice.
I moved on, but over 2 years I was constantly dragged back to an unhealthy place, situation, and person.
This is great for the business of selling pharmaceuticals, but not for me.
The worst part was plugging myself into his depressed, privileged, bored, trust fund, mind frame. It explained his personality, motivations, and behaviour, but I didn't want an explanation and didn't expect an apology. I simply had an obligation to see it to the end.
DY agreed to trying to kiss me, calling the cops on me, having jilted feelings toward me, saying the lyrics "bitch I love you" and all the harassment that happened as I described it. He agreed at a mediation meeting a year into the claim and, two years later at the tribunal in a sworn statement on his behalf.
His lawyers simply had to dispute that 'what we had was ever had a working relationship' in the first place. They said I was a roommate, any and all work I did for him was: "out of friendship"
Despite our legally binding contract, the reduced rent wasn't considered "paid employment". So he didn't have to be held accountable for his untoward, inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment of me.
Turns out, not everyone has human rights and the right to self-respect or defence. It's called reality.
I was raised to stand up for myself (by immigrants to this country, that weren't welcomed with open arms).
And I did stand up, at my own expense.
Right to his face.
It was sickening having to look at him.
During a tribunal hearing break, DY waited outside the women's restroom to "talk to me". He was smiling when he cornered me and speaking in a friendly manner. I didn't care, I rushed past him, shaking my head and making some kind of noise. He followed me and reached for my arm, (presumably to stop me from walking away).
I remember making that noise because I wanted other people to know where I was, to be aware of me. The woman acting as tribunal chair stepped out into the hall to see what was going on and he stopped and walked away.
What was it all for? To justify the existence of a government body and end up in a misinformed, one-sided newspaper article?
(*A Google alert told me I had lost the hearing before the tribunal did when an article with my name was published about it because: 'pot is so hot right now').
To watch friends and family shake their heads and gaze at me with pity?
Worse, I fueled the confidence of a wealthy degenerate, an insecure powerful, sad man. About 4 months after moving in I caught DY with 4 pairs of women's panties in our laundry room. He told me they were "..from the Airbnb" and he was keeping them "...in case the guests want them back". Over time, more women guest's clothing showed up in his laundry (panties, a dress). These items were for personal use, he laundered them regularly and none of them were ever claimed, requested back or discarded.
DY is a man who casually told me that his parent's house "backed onto the UBC trails". The same ones he took me to when he pulled me to the ground and tried to kiss me. He said he: "grew up there and knew them" like 'the back of his hand'. The trail systems are massive and intertwine.
I commented on us 'getting lost' the day he took me out.
He explained how familiar he was with those woods by saying:
"..I could find my way through here in the dark with my eyes closed".
Sexual assaults and harassment have occurred in the past at UBC, especially on the trails. Quite prevalently for a period. Reference the Caribou House Incident which took place in October 1990. Although DY didn't attend UBC, he was 19 years old at that time and friendly with males who did. Assaults occurred during the time he was in high school and residing with his parents beside the campus and trails. Assaults declined for various reasons over the following decades. DY's presence from the area similarly declined as he graduated from University and was moved by his family into the Mount Pleasant area of the city.
He still frequents the trails at UBC.