TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains descriptions of sexual violence.
Stormie Somers says of William Ray Francis: “I’ve got a $30,000 hospital bill from when he beat me. He dislocated my jaw, he gave me a contusion to my spine. One time he beat me unconscious and when I came to he was raping me. I was terrified of him.”
Of their nine years together, Stormie says the abuse was constant. “I was totally under his control. I said stop over and over again. But it didn’t stop, so you had to play along. It got to the point where you had no control over who you are. You did what you were told because your only purpose is to worship and take care of him. And it’s your purpose to get other women to be his submissives too, to be part of his ‘movement’.”
This “movement” is allegedly the work of William Roy Francis, former vocalist of early 2000’s Post-Hardcore band, Aiden, who now performs under the name William Control. His musical styling and aesthetic relies heavily on violent sexual play; Song titles include Knife Play, The Whipping Haus, and I Am Your Jesus. He also touts a fashion label called “Submit Clothing,” and called his 2015 tour, “The Punishment Tour.”
A number of women have come forward to publicly claim that Francis used his position of fame and influence in the hardcore community to coerce them into sexually, mentally, and physically abusive relationships under the guise of BDSM. Salty spoke with five of them, and their stories are included here. Allegations include forced sexual labor and financial extortion, rape, beatings and branding. Three women we spoke with had his initials tattooed on their bodies to in order to prove their loyalty. “He said he wanted everyone to know that I was his property,” Stormie says. One victim claims he carved his initials into her ribs.
We urge anyone who has similar allegations to contact the police in their district.
As with previous abuse allegations that have come to light throughout the #metoo movement, social media played a big role in the dissemination and corroboration of these stories.
*Katherine P who was in a relationship with Francis for three years, claims that as punishment “he made me kneel on a hotel room floor for two and a half days, sending him a photo every five minutes to prove I was still there. I was not allowed to eat or drink for 24 hours. I called red but ignored me.” She also says “He financially extorted me. I’m thousands of pounds in debt because of the things he insisted I buy for him and pay for – the shoes, the clothes, the hotels, the flights – and he made me change my will and pension payout to make him sole beneficiary.” She also says that although she never consented, he took photos of her during sex and sent them to other women.
“There needs to be a conversation, a movement about the blurred lines of consent, and how people take advantage of that.” – Tess Marie
Sarka J claims that Francis held her at gunpoint and raped her. “I couldn’t consent because I was scared to death. I couldn’t consent because of the loaded gun being forcefully pulled to my mouth. Trying to refuse only meant more torture until I gave up. I couldn’t consent because being beaten heavily with fists to my face and head and temples, as well as being choked unconscious.” She also has two branding tattoos. She says she was financially extorted to the tune of $100,000 over the course of three years. “He wanted plenty of money as proof of my love, and if I didn’t send it I wasn’t allowed to see him.”
Sarka clarifies: “I wasn’t a newbie to BDSM, and I was part of the local community for some time before I met William. BDSM isn’t about beating the shit out of anyone, or building the relationship out of fear, dependency, manipulation, and one sided abuse.”
“BDSM isn’t about beating the s%*# out of anyone, or building the relationship only on fear, dependency, manipulation, and one-sided abuse.” – Sarka J
Atoria Chan says that she was groomed online when she was just 14. She tells us “he would cut women in front of me on Skype and tell me it was my fault” and “demand that I hit my face until it was bruised and send him pictures.” Three women claim that he asked to be referred to as Lord, Master, and God. “I was made to worship and serve him. That’s what I was told. I thought that’s what love meant,” Stormie says. “There was a prayer to him he wanted me to tell every morning” Sakra says.
It is also alleged that William Control connected with fans online and met up with them on tour and engage in BDSM-like sex, though without safe words or consent. Tess Marie alleges that when she was 18, she was plied with alcohol, tied up, beaten, gagged and photographed after a show in St Petersburg in 2013. “there was no communication; there was no safe word, there was no communication about comfort levels and boundaries.” She told Salty “There needs to be a conversation, a movement about the blurred lines of consent, and how people take advantage of that. William has caused a lot of hurt and pain to many women.”
“We cannot normalize his version of BDSM. This is not BDSM. There is no, no, no way that is BDSM.” – Stormie Somers
This is certainly not the first time we’ve heard of men in the music industry taking systematic advantage to impressionable fans, and using other female victims to assist in recruiting and grooming more victims — R Kelly comes to mind as another horrifying example. The power imbalance between a famous musician and a young female fan is vast. In this situation, if you throw predatory BDSM practices into the mix, it can quickly shade into abuse.
Planned Parenthood’s definition of consent emphasizes that it is freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific. Consent is not valid if it is given under duress or coercion. When victims are too drunk or terrified to say no, that is not consent. BDSM play, specifically, requires a very specific communication of boundaries.
William Control has denied the allegations.
We’ve shared the content from the tumblr below, with permission from the blog owner. If you’ve been affected by the actions of William than we encourage you to stand with the other victims talk to the police.
As of June 8, William Control has deleted his instagram account, and left this update on his Facebook.
UPDATE: Police in Federal Way have declined to press charges against William Francis.
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