In a new Pitchfork report, Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has been accused of entering into “an ongoing abusive relationship” with a woman pseudonymously named Sabina, which began when she was a 22-year-old student and Butler was 35.
Sabina is the fifth person to come forward with allegations against Butler following the publication of an initial Pitchfork report in August, wherein four separate people detailed past sexual relationships with the musician that they “came to feel were inappropriate given the gaps in age, power dynamics, and context in which they occurred.” All five accusers were at least 13 years younger than Butler when the alleged abuse occurred.
In the new article, Sabina details meeting Butler in Montreal in the summer of 2015, when she was a recently-divorced waitress and student. Although the pair initially bonded over literature and poetry (“I thought I was being so intellectual,” says Sabina in the report), the relationship quickly became sexual.
Butler was “emotionally abusive, manipulative, toxic, and using his power dynamic to exploit my body at times that were convenient for him. He met me when I was so vulnerable,” Sabina says. “In general, it was an abusive dynamic. It was really aggressive and I felt like I just had to do what he said. I was not really comfortable with some of the things he was asking me to do, but doing them anyway. And that is ultimately dehumanizing,” she continues.
The article goes on to detail how Butler pressured Sabina to leave her boyfriend and her roommate to live alone “with the implication that they could more easily have sex that way,” expected her to be “available for sex in any form” according to his schedule, sent her unsolicited, sexually explicit photos, and generally made her feel like she was “just a body.”
She concludes: “If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship it makes you feel better to tell yourself that this was all for something, that their outbursts were mistakes and that you meant something to the abuser, that you still hold value in their eyes. .. But the only value I ever held for him was performing sexual acts whenever he wanted.”
Butler has yet to respond to this most recent allegation. The full text of his previous response, in which he claims that “every single one of these interactions has been mutual and always between consenting adults,” is available here.
If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual abuse, contact them RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.