A Vancouver Island University student was injured Saturday night in what he says was an unprovoked homophobic assault at an off-campus party in Nanaimo.
Spencer Frey, 19, who openly identifies as gay, told CBC News that he and a friend attended a house party with another student where alcohol was being consumed, when several attendees he did not verbally acknowledge and sexually assaulted him throughout the evening.
Frey said the trouble started when a young man called him “disgusting” and uttered a homophobic slur.
Some time later, another man approached and touched her bottom “which made me feel so uncomfortable,” Frey said, adding that the person licked her lips suggestively before walk away.
“I was in shock,” Frey said. “I couldn’t even say anything. Usually I’m the kind of person who would go crazy.”
The assaults escalated, Frey said, when a third young man approached him, accusing him of watching, then punched Frey in the face when he denied the charges.
Frey said he was knocked to the ground and given another blow to the face before he and his friend managed to leave the house – without his shoes.
As a result of the assaults, Frey said he was left with a swollen face, a black eye, injuries to his mouth and bruises on his neck where, he says, someone tried to kill him. strangle with his collar.
Nanaimo RCMP are investigating
Nanaimo RCMP Constable Gary O’Brien confirms police are investigating the incident but could not provide further details.
Ella McNeill, Frey’s friend at the party, said she couldn’t believe what she witnessed as she helped him leave the house while a handful of revelers were still trying to get him. attack.
“I still shake when I talk about it,” McNeill said.
She said the couple went back to Vancouver Island University where they live and only contacted the police in the morning because they were so stunned and scared.
Frey’s mother, Erin Frey, told CBC she was “extremely angry” that her son was attacked, apparently on the basis of his sexual orientation, and flew to Nanaimo from Vancouver early the next day, where the three went to the hospital.
“This is Canada,” she said in frustration. “We are supposed to be a country that is inclusive and accepting of all different types of […] sexual orientations. »
She said they spoke to police at the hospital who later told them that at least one suspect was well known to them, although police did not confirm this detail with CBC.
Support offered by VIU
A statement from VIU’s Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Irlanda Gonzalez Price, says the school is taking the incident very seriously and is working with the RCMP to investigate the “hate crime”.
“Since Sunday morning, VIU has been in contact with the student and his family and is providing ongoing support,” the statement said, adding that it is working with campus partners to “enhance training and outreach activities that help to create alliances.
McNeill said Frey received a huge amount of support online and from friends after photos of his injuries were posted. publicly posted on Instagram.
Frey said he’s been the victim of other verbal abuse both on and off campus since moving to Nanaimo last September.
He said he has now packed most of his belongings from his dormitory and has no plans to attend VIU next year.