Windsor drag queen BOA opened up about being assaulted a few years ago in Toronto during Thursday's episode of Canada's Drag Race.
BOA is a contestant on the first season of Canada's Drag Race — the Canadian version of RuPaul's Drag Race, a reality show where drag queens are competing to be the country's first drag superstar.
Prior to BOA's elimination in Thursday's episode, they talked about being beaten up and robbed at their home in Toronto in 2015.
"It was very emotional watching it," BOA told CBC News after seeing the episode.
"I really hope that people who watch it, who may be experiencing it, have experienced it or know someone who is currently or has experienced it just knows they're not alone and uses my story as a way to relate."
BOA spoke with the media about the incident after it happened, but they hope that re-telling the story on a larger platform will help others.
"There's violence in the queer community and this needs to stop," an emotional BOA said during the show's episode.
After the assault happened and BOA went public with it, they said the community "rallied" behind them.
The drag community, BOA said, is really susceptible to incidents like these.
"Especially with drag, femme-presenting people I would say...it does make us more vulnerable and also we do have different marginalized communities within our community," they said, adding that the community has transgender people and people of colour.
Caitlin Chee, a support worker for Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape, said violence and particularly sexual violence are seen at high rates in the 2SLGBTQ community.
"There's definitely rates of not just violence in general, but sexual violence at higher rates than a cis- heterosexual community [and] so much of that is in terms of the big factors [like] misogyny, homophobia, trans-phobia are rampant in society," they said.
Chee said they hope that BOA's story will help others who have experienced similar incidents.
"I think one of the most important aspects of supporting survivors and combating rape culture in the queer community is having discussions like this and just being able to speak about it openly," they said, adding that because rape culture is predominantly spoken about through a cis-heterosexual lens, these conversations are all the more important.
As for the steps survivors of violence and sexual violence should take, Chee said it's important to know that they "look different for everyone."
"One of the most important things is to figure out your support system, figure out who you trust to be able to care for you and to listen to your needs," they said.
Some, they said, also don't feel comfortable navigating the justice system because they may have "faced violence from that very system."
Chee recommended the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres and the LGBTQ Youth Line as community support resources. They also said the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre offers services to people outside of Toronto.
But, BOA said, even just reaching out to a friend helps to "just know that you're not alone."
"Know there are resources out there to help you," they said. "You can get through this and you can heal in your own way."