In 2012, Tori McLellan was coercively raped by the creator of Spirit Science Jordan Duchnycz. When she spoke out, Blake Dyer, a disciple of “spiritual leader” Teal Swan and COO of her company, blamed Tori publicly. Student of Teal Swan Cassey Larson advocates for Tori and other survivors of sexual violence and explains her perspective.
When Tori McLellan told her former friend and self-professed “spiritual healer” Teal Swan that she was raped by the creator of Spirit Science Jordan Duchnycz, she was greeted with sympathy that later turned into victim blaming and denial.
On July 2, 2017, Blake Dyer, COO of Teal’s company Teal Eye, LLC, continued this trend stating that Tori had poor boundaries and that Jordan was innocent of this crime, despite Jordan’s taped confession. In his article, Dyer broke Duchynycz’s anonymity by mentioning his name and credentials in conjunction with this case.
Spirit Science Banner from http://thespiritscience.net/
The rape occurred as the result of coercion, which is not included in the State of Oregon’s legal definition of “rape.” Thus, because Tori eventually consented, albeit involuntarily, the courts failed to prosecute. In the light of this, Swan and Dyer’s victim blaming narrative emerged. Remedying this act of injustice requires us to listen to Tori’s story and re-consider the way the State of Oregon and other states define rape.
In 2012, Duchnycz and Tori were travelling together. While in Portland, Tori shut herself in a room to be alone. Duchnycz entered the room and sat next to her. He turned her head to face his and uncrossed her arms from her chest. He removed both of their clothes and initiated a “chakra healing” in which he kissed each one of Tori’s chakras from her head to her vagina without her consent.
Tori states, “…I didn’t want to be touched. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to be alone.”
Picture of Jordan Duchnycz circa 2012 from http://thespiritscience.net/tags/jordan/
Duchnycz asked Tori to have sex telling her it would heal her root and sacral chakras. Tori said “no,” but Duchnycz continued asking until she involuntarily consented.
Tori cried during the entire act, but Duchnycz continued until he climaxed.
Tori gathered evidence between August and September of 2013 via Facebook. A friend of Tori saved all the information and sent it to Tori in 2015 who presented the evidence to police in July of 2016. The evidence proved sufficient enough that Tori was given an advocate and a detective to investigate her case.
After several months of investigating, officers of the Portland Police Department recorded a conversation between Tori and Duchnycz on February 7, 2017. In this Pretext Call, Tori asked Duchnycz why he continued pressuring her after her repeated refusal.
He replied, “I was possessed.”
Tori asks by what and he states, “Desire, lust, greed, power. The way people were treating me, uh, um, it was as if I was on cocaine all the time without even having tried it.”
This portion of the conversation, transcribed from a second audio recording on February 10, also in cooperation with Portland Police, features Duchnycz’s admission of guilt:
Duchnycz did not know he was being recorded or that he was under investigation.
For four and a half years, Tori remained silent. She didn’t report the rape because she feared being demonized, losing relationships and friends, and having her sanity questioned.
In an article on her blog The Gohst titled “Sue Me, I Waited to Report,” Tori writes, “…between the thousands of followers (some REALLY intense), all of his manic ides, I wasn’t about to tell anyone. I was paranoid that he was more powerful than what he’d already proved. I was paranoid he’s come out to my state again and do something even worse.”
Picture of Tori McLellan from https://thegohst.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/who-am-i/
But in 2016, Tori discovered that Duchnycz was publicizing Teal’s work and that “Blake [Dyer] had set up a meeting between my rapist’s organization and Teal [Swan’s] organization.”
Tori confronted Swan who is alleged to have responded, “It’s business. And besides, I don’t believe you were raped.” This was the final straw that pushed Tori to speak out and stand up for herself and others who have been victims of rape by coercion.
On July 2, 2017, Blake Dyer published an article on his blog titled. “The Teal Tribe Rift.” When referencing the rape, he states:
“She [Tori] said no, she said no again, she said no again, then she said ok. yeeeeaaahh… That’s not rape. That is poor boundaries. I feel sorry for all of the real rape victims out there (including Teal) that will have their pain demeaned because of irresponsible statements and people like Tori.”
Photo of Blake Dyer from: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153376646263575&set=a.434852843574.221029.660113574&type=3&theater
By Duchnycz’s own admission, this is false.
Though Tori, consented in the end, this was involuntary. It was coerced through verbal pressure, physical aggression, and sexual assault all committed in the name of love and healing. Her boundaries were violated by Duchnycz, which Dyer fails to recognize. Instead, he put the full blame on Tori ignoring everything that happened leading up to the rape and the consequences Tori suffered after: PTSD, hallucinations, depersonalization, disassociation, paranoia, and many others.
What Dyer did is called “victim blaming.”
Consent occurs when approval is given to someone to do something. There are two types:
Coercion occurs when a person is pressured into doing something they don’t want to do. If someone is coerced into consenting to something, that consent is involuntarily.
In Tori’s story, Duchnycz coerced her into giving sexual consent. This consent was involuntary because Tori was not allowed to freely refuse. She was pressured physically, verbally, emotionally, and psychologically, and when she said “No,” Duchnycz kept asking.
When sexual consent is involuntary, the act is rape because the person consenting does not want to consent. They are placed in a position where they may be hurt or fear being hurt if they refuse to obey.
This is what happened to Tori.
Cassey Larson has been a follower and student of Teal Swan for approximately two years and has been a member of Teal Tribe on Facebook for around one. She looked up to Swan as an ethical spiritual teacher, but when reading Tori’s story, she felt that Dyer’s reply was “disturbing and damaging,” that Teal’s silence was “disheartening and alarming,” and that it is important to hold Swan accountable for her silence, especially concerning a situation this serious.
She states, “This whole situation makes me so sad because I have truly loved Teal,” but given Dyer’s statements she now feels led to advocate on behalf of Tori and other survivors of sexual violence, including herself: “I feel deeply for the victims of these crimes and the belittling and shaming. I cannot stand by in silence.”
For this reason, she shares portions of her story to show survivors of sexual violence that they are not alone.
Photo of Cassey Larson supplied by Cassey Larson and used with her permission
Cassey was sexually assaulted by a friend from high school after graduating. When she spoke out, she states “None of our mutual friends believed this person was capable of such a thing. They said they couldn’t see him doing this.” Cassey was called “pathetic” and told she was making “a desperate attempt at seeking love.”
Her assailant admitted his crime to others, but no witnesses would step forward on Cassey’s behalf. So, like Tori, Cassey was forced to suffer in silence while others defended the perpetrator. Cassey states, “I was completely dismissed, shrugged off, abandoned, and scolded as if I was in the wrong.”
Cassey feels that Dyer “mocked Tori for staying in a relationship with her rapist.” She has met many other survivors of sexual violence and knows that it often takes a long period of time before many are able to “escape, report, or even realize the gravity of what happened.” Going further, she states, “I’m in shock because I never thought in that community they would ever belittle someone’s traumatic experience like this, especially given that Swan’s teachings are focused on helping individuals heal from past trauma.”
This story of victim blaming is not unique to Cassey and Tori. Dyer and many others blame victims for the violence committed against them. There are many women who have suffered sexual assault or been coerced into rape and then dismissed. This is not an isolated incident. It is a cultural condition.
*Tori’s story is collected from several sources