Allegations of sexual assault have surfaced involving two Victoria tattoo parlours.
Stemming from posts to Instagram account @victims_voices_canada, the allegations cite incidents involving male tattoo artists from two different tattoo parlours – Carne Tattoo on Johnson Street and Painted Lotus Studios on Gordon Street.
The description of the Instagram account reads “Times Up Canadian Tatooing” and features dozens of alleged accounts of sexual abuse or violence by tattooists or piercers across Canada.
Carne Tattoo took to their own social media account to respond to the allegations, writing that it is “shocked and angered.”
“We have always taken our client safety, both physically and emotionally, as the utmost priority and are so troubled that this act could have taken place in our shop.”
The shop said that the employee at the centre of the allegations was no longer working for the parlour.
Painted Lotus Studios also posted a response to the allegation of abuse at its shop, writing that tattooing “is an industry with a long history of toxic behaviour that has been swept under the rug.
“If we have failed you, we are so sorry. We will be making changes to our policies to address the ways in which client safety was not upheld to the standards we strive for.”
The owners of that parlour also confirmed in their statement that the employee being accused was also no longer working for them.
Neither tattoo shop responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.
The Victoria Police Department says it cannot confirm an investigation or names of potential suspects, and said it is bound by law and a “victim-centred, trauma-informed approach to sexualized violence” to ensure nothing is done that takes away a survivor’s ability to pursue a criminal process if that’s what they choose.
“Someone who has experienced sexualized violence has had their power to chose taken away from them. We believe victims of sexualized violence. We respect their right to chose what happens with their story,” said VicPD spokesperson Bowen Osoko.
“I want every person who has experienced sexualized violence to hear that we believe you. I want them to know they will be heard, they will be believed and they will be treated with respect –including respect for their ability to chose what happens with their story.”
Osoko noted that those who don’t feel comfortable reporting to police can report through the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, the Men’s Trauma Centre, an emergency room or their general physician. Anyone who wishes to report to Victoria police can call 250-995-7654ext. 1.