They started by sharing their stories on social media about alleged sexual assaults that date back years.
As a result, Calgary police are now investigating reports of sexual assault by local musician and photographer Ruel James.
Global News spoke with two women who allege James assaulted them.
James did not respond to requests for a response when Global News reached out to him by email, text or at his place of residence. A lawyer representing James said his client declined to comment on the allegations.
Taylor Kindrachuk said that in 2018, James went to her apartment to watch a movie.
“Sex was a thing I didn’t consent to,” Kindrachuk explained. “I verbally said no more than 10 times but he just kept going.”
Kindrachuk lived by herself and said the experience left her feeling like a safe space had been violated.
“Since that, I have had severe issues with letting people inside my apartment. I have only let people in a handful of times in the last two years.”
Kindrachuk provided Global News with text messages she says are between her and James where Kindrachuk confronts James with her allegations. The person she identifies as James indicates he remembers the incident “very differently.”
In 2013, Michaela Neuman was a teenager in Grade 11. She said she had struck up a conversation with James after seeing him perform at a show.
Neuman said she was seeking a sense of community, which she felt like she had found in the music scene.
“It was a very dark time in my life because I wanted a place to belong and I came so close,” explained Neuman. “Then he did that, and I instantly felt ostracized and I couldn’t go anywhere without feeling ostracized.”
Neuman alleges that James sexually assaulted her at his apartment after picking her up one evening. She said she felt trapped and that James dropped her off at her high school in the morning.
“He started to feel me inappropriately, and I said, ‘No, I don’t want to do that,’ and then just started to pressure me until I gave in.”
Neuman said she didn’t know how she would get home.
“It wasn’t easy for me to get out, and I was like, ‘The easiest thing to do is get it over with and do it.’ I didn’t want to and he knew I didn’t want to.”
James has been part of several bands in recent years in Calgary. Global News spoke with several former bandmates who denied any knowledge of the allegations of assault.
Most recently, he was a member of Widmore; the band posted on social media and said that in light of allegations, James was no longer a member.
On April 17, 2020, on a Twitter account in his name, James tweeted from a private account saying in part: “I’m sorry… I grew up in a society that was/is entirely built on misogyny… movies, music, books and TV shows all told me I should be something I knew I didn’t want to be ”
Neuman and Kindrachuk said the attempt at an apology just upset them more.
“It’s disgusting,” Kindrachuk said.
“He basically blamed who he is as a man on TV and movies,” Neuman said. “That’s not why you are the way you are. You can’t shift blame on content you’ve seen growing up.”
The allegations have not been proven in court.