This article discusses allegations of sexual assault, manipulation, physical and emotional abuse, and abuse of power. If you or someone you know needs to speak with someone about an issue that this story raises for you, you can speak to counsellors at 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, or Lifeline on 13 11 14. Speak with your friends who you might be worried about. Be alert. There is always help.
A couple of weeks ago, allegations of a ‘sex cult’ headed up by former frontman for Seattle emo/horror punk band Aiden – wiL Francis (aka. William Francis, William Control) – were rejected by Francis through a lengthy post on his Facebook.
As reported by The Daily Beast, multiple women have come forward with accusations that Francis – who had built an identity as a BDSM dominant master through his solo project, William Control – had manipulated and abused them both physically and emotionally. Francis had apparently addressed the women as his ‘slaves’, drew up strict contracts that he forced them to sign in their own blood, and pressured them to get matching tattoos of his initials – usually in their pubic area.
Many of these women are today dealing with years of trauma and PTSD linked to psychological abuse.
Vitoria Chan was the first to make the allegations against Francis earlier this month, where she accused Francis of grooming her when she was 14 – clearly specifying that there were no physical interactions between her and Francis until she was over the age of consent.
From there, other women have apparently connected together via group message to share their experiences with Francis, confirming that his alleged behaviour is nothing short of abusive and abhorrent.
A woman under the pseudonym of Lily spoke with The Daily Beast about her experiences with Francis and the sex cult, ranging from consensual sexual encounters which eventually turned abusive, and in one instance resulted in him anally raping her in 2010 whilst she was visiting him on tour in Orlando, Florida, as part of her ‘slave duties’.
So that night, it was just, maybe the sex started out consensual, but it was just brutal, way beyond like spanking or biting, it was like he broke skin when he bit me and I was crying, and there was a point where he had said, ‘I can’t do this if you’re going to fucking cry like that.’ And then he flipped me over and I definitely said no, and I was definitely still crying, and he anally raped me. And then he left me there to go sound check for his show.
When Francis posted his response on Facebook, Lily tweeted her upset about him dismissing her experiences. Francis immediately emailed her and threatened to sue for defamation.
“What really frightens me about him also is his fan base,” Lily said. “There are so many women, because his whole persona thing is being a dom, BDSM, and the shitty thing is, it’s like the Fifty Shades of Grey thing of ‘oh it’s not abusive, it’s just kinky,’ and that’s the way he plays it off. And it’s like no, that’s abuse.”
A Tumblr titled Talk About The Sex Cult has been developed by women who allege Francis coerced them into being his ‘slaves’, which he has requested be removed. Multiple women who have come forward with stories about encounters with Francis have filed statements to police in both the US and the UK, but police in the US are currently declining to file charges against Francis.
Francis has since abandoned his social media accounts, and confirmed he’s stepping away from his musical career.
We’ll update this story as it develops.
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Image: Getty Images / Gary Wolstenholme