In the early morning hours of October 13, 2013, Jonas Dick and Alex Smith, two self-described pickup artists, met two women outside of a San Diego bar at closing time and invited them back to their apartment, where a third man, Jason Berlin, was waiting.
As Jonas kept one of the women occupied, Alex took the other into a bedroom. When her friend came looking for her, she says she found her lying unconscious in a pool of vomit, surrounded by two naked men—Alex and Jason.
The events of that evening and the investigation the victim undertook to find her attackers via their online pickup artist personas, prompted the District Attorney to file felony charges against all three men for the rape of an intoxicated person, an incredibly common, but rarely prosecuted crime.
Jonas pleaded guilty and received the maximum sentence of eight years and a lifetime on the sex offender registry. Jason pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Alex maintained his innocence, claiming the victim had consented. An almost all-male jury convicted/acquitted Alex after a September trial.
At Jonas Dick’s July sentencing hearing, the victim delivered a statement before the court addressing her attackers, the impact their crime has had on her life, and the hope that her case might deter others from participating in or profiting from pickup—a million-dollar industry that, she says, preys on women. Read a transcript of her statement in full, below.
Thank you, Your Honor, for letting me have the opportunity to speak on this. I appreciate it. I also—please apologize for any foul language or quotes that I say.
“I’ve never been in the back of a police car before,” I thought to myself as I was being driven to the rape clinic that morning. It all started to settle in as I was being shuffled into the exam room, instructed to take off my clothes. I did just that. My heart sank as I saw the large horizontal tear in the back of my dress for the first time, severing the top and the bottom half and then realizing I wasn’t wearing my underwear anymore.
I began noticing bruises starting to form. The examiner came in with a professional camera and flash after flash took pictures of all of my bruises. I kept my composure even when the camera went off between my legs. It wasn’t until the vaginal exam began that I felt every rip and tear that I started to cry uncontrollably on the table.
I was put in a small bathroom and given a set of clothes as my dress and bra were taken away. I asked for a shower; but since there was none, I tried to wash out the vomit in my hair on the tiny sink.
I was given a bunch of papers to sign, some positive words, and driven back to my car by the same policeman. When I got home, I crawled into bed and cried until I went to sleep. When I woke up again, I tried to recollect the evening.
My friend and I, slowly getting back into the dating scene after being in lengthy relationships, went to a bar downtown that I had a gift card from winning a charity raffle. I was exhausted from the work week but rallied as we had already postponed this girls’ night out several times.
Last I remember was texting a friend for their new downtown address and wondered whether Uber could drop two people off at two different locations, Uber being new to San Diego at the time. I bawled as I remembered being woken up and hearing my friend’s voice as she urged me to put my dress back on.
I remember the striking pain around my vagina as I pushed myself up and began moving my legs. I kept hearing voices and seeing dark figures around me. And the voices got louder and louder as I was being physically dragged and thrown out into the hall.
Diagnosis, rape victim E960.1. I read this as I walked over to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for bruise-treatment gel. The following week, several of my bruises had still not all healed up. This was the first of many doctor visits, STD tests, blood work, and prescription drugs.
When I was asleep, I would wake from night terrors. Flashes of that evening would enter my head. When I was awake, I was paranoid, unable to speak to strangers or walk alone. I felt unsafe everywhere I was, even in my own house.
I didn’t know about these men. Yet, they had seen me naked and unconscious, the most vulnerable state a human could be in. I tried to focus on work, but I would end up in the car or women’s bathroom crying, trying to hold back tears every time my mind had a free moment and memories of that night would float back in.
We’re here specifically to talk about Jonas Dick and how he and this evening had impacted me. I’d never met Dick or the other two before that night. In fact, I was unaware there were three men that night until I was later told I was found unconscious in the same room not with one naked man, but with two.
How did I come to know his name? My friend shared a conversation she had with Jonas. Dick being quite an uncommon last name, she challenged it, in which he showed his driver’s license to her. This was the only name I knew of the three.
A month or so goes by, and I start Googling his name. After a few searches, I find his name on a website and then another until I stumble upon this:
“Jonas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco. This guy’s game is on another level that no one has ever seen. He pulls every single night he is out. He has regular threesomes from cold approach, and it’s not uncommon for him to fuck three girls in one night in the same venue. His lay count is now over 150. At the age of 24, it’s hard to believe just three years ago he was a virgin.
“His style is focused on hitting it up hard 24/7 while also keeping it simple and being efficient. He will push you harder in the field than you have ever been pushed, and he doesn’t put up with any bullshit. Having experienced the initial pain period of getting no results for longer than the average guy, he understands what actually works for getting guys results.
“Jonas has a very in-depth understanding of game with extensive experience in teaching guys how to become ridiculously advanced players. His advice is direct and easily applicable. He cares about his students and puts their success above everything else.”
Yes, that is correct. I was the one who found out that Jonas Dick and Alex Smith were instructors of a pickup artist company, and the third man was their student Jason Berlin. I read about my own rape from their Efficient Pickup website on a post titled “Tales of a Sex-addicted, Narcissistic Player.”
It went something like this:
“October 12, 2013, LR” or lay report. “Ran a train with a boot camp student. Jonas and I are both teaching BC,” boot camp, “tonight.”
“We ran into each other at pull o’clock, bar closing. He asks me to wing for him. I do. Within a couple of minutes, I’m fingering my girl right outside the bar in public.
“Pull back to the spot. Zero LMR, make her beg for my dick, and I only -- I say only if my friend can fuck you, too. So we run a train on the ho. I text Jonas to choo-choo her, but he has to occupy her friend. Her friend came out and -- her friend came out, and I was like, yeah, we just tag teamed your friend.
“My chick freaked out because now she’s the slut, et cetera. I get hit in the face with a high heel. I laugh. We kicked them out. Details to be added when I have time.”
This was written by Alex Smith who was known for the concept of train game or lining up an army of men to gang rape a girl one man after another. That’s what the choo-choo text meant that he sent to both Jonas Dick and Jason Berlin.
And with that, I uncovered this whole world that I did not know existed of pickup artists, men who blogged about their interactions with women, bragged about how many they slept with, and egged each other with advice and insults of how they should manipulate and objectify women.
Even more shocking, there were many that wanted to share and spread their techniques through books, seminars, and hidden videos of their approach. The going rate for this boot camp experience from instructors Dick and Smith to learn about how to seduce women and guarantee results and up their lay counts: Several thousand dollars a weekend.
I read post after post on multiple sites of how these instructors and students would interact with women. The best way is to isolate one from a group, how to get away with saying you’re going to one place when you’re really taking them home.
I read through descriptions of layout plans and popular clubs in downtown and Pacific Beach where they highlighted unmonitored hallways and easy exits out. I was saddened by reading these reports. Some reports I read of women who were either drugged or too intoxicated to even know which man they slept with or that they had slept with more that evening. More than one.
Women are often not identified by name on these sites but rather a number on a scale of how hot they are. And speaking of numbers, this is what drives their thinking, trying to increase the number of women they have sex with at no cost.
I would read through their advice book as a way to try to protect myself so I can identify anyone who has been brainwashed with this lifestyle. I started getting used to their language and acronyms such as LR or lay report, LMR, last-minute resistance, and even DDBL, doggy dinner-bowl look where a woman is so attracted to a pickup artist that she has big eyes, slightly lowered and tilted head, and a look of anticipation which resembles a dog waiting for their dinner bowl.
When I discovered their website and saw pictures of them, I couldn’t get their faces out of my head. I would be at social functions and public events where I would do double takes because I would see their faces on people around me. As someone who volunteered with multiple organizations around San Diego, I ended up stepping down from my roles to avoid talking to strangers.
As someone who is single, I stopped dating and avoided going downtown or even socially at all. Even interactions with women who would introduce me to their close guy friends, I couldn’t trust it as I found out about female instructors in the pickup artist community.
I was someone who could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. After this, I could no longer trust or interact with strangers without thinking they may be part of this culture and I’m just part of their game.
I went through years and spent thousands of dollars of my own money on psychotherapy called EMDR or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing to handle my PTSD. I was doing well and even got the courage enough to go to a downtown venue for a wedding. That was when I had one major setback when I saw Efficient Pickup’s president John Mulvehill outside a downtown club with another man and two females.
I went into a full-blown panic attack. From what I knew, this pickup artist too sleazy for pickup artists was in Vegas where he was charged with kidnapping and lewd acts of conduct in a mansion off the strip conducting his own live-in, week-long boot camps. I came to find out that he had been banned from Vegas and wasn’t just visiting. The mailing address for Efficient Pickup was now updated to San Diego.
Mulvehill’s previous company Real Social Dynamics was in several social media campaigns in 2014 because of one of its own instructors, Julien Blanc. Due to Blanc’s videos and seminars that incite violence and abusive behaviors towards women, he is now denied entry to several countries including Australia, the UK, and Singapore. He was interviewed by CNN and named the most hated man in the world. Yet his videos have reportedly brought him a total net worth of $1.4 million.
If this is all true about Julien Blanc what is to be said about Mulvehill who they kicked out because they thought his methods were too rapey? And he was known to have T-shirts printed up of his numbers wearing them while he was having sex with the girl. He claims it is now over 350. This is the man that employed and mentored Jonas Dick and Alex Smith.
These businesses that promote rape culture should be stopped. This is not friendly dating advice or motivational speaking. This is promoting the thinking that women are only objects and men are entitled to their mind and bodies for their entertainment and satisfaction.
This mindset is out of control and very much present in everyday life. Men’s Fitness recently published and then pulled and article titled “Turning a No Into a Yes” at the bar, on a date, in bed, and in a relationship, written by another pickup artist but only when it was identified as rapey by the public.
This type of mentality in websites have also been linked to many school shootings such as Elliot Rodger’s near UC Santa Barbara who killed six people and injured 14 others before killing himself.
I am standing here today in this room to bring this pickup artist community to light and to represent the women out there that are unaware they too are victims and to the women who have yet to stumble upon the path of the pickup artist and their students.
The night was not an oops or a coincidence of events. It was strategically planned by these men who not only manipulated and raped women regularly but blogged and profited from it, from their fans and followers.
Thousand of dollars were spent on each of these boot camps guaranteed to bring their students results and up their lay count. They used these instructor-led weekends to test their technique of the train game and used the money for a downtown apartment, which they referred to as “the train station,” to bring back unsuspecting women with the intention of gang raping them.
It’s difficult to summarize how this has impacted my life. I have gotten far with coping with this incident, but I have yet to fully heal from this trauma, seeing my dress torn in half after I took it off after the exam, hearing the camera lights flash as it took pictures of my torn vagina and bruises all over my body.
Having to get tested for every STD and nervously waiting to get back HIV results, especially after reading the reports of them having unprotected sex with multiple women a night and visiting Tijuana for prostitutes.
The painful feeling in my chest when I read Mr. Smith and Mr. Berlin’s version of what happened that evening and uncovering this whole world. Continuing to read blog reports after that night and knowing that these same men are still out there preying on women in San Diego and around us.
Having to identify my underwear in a three-inch binder full of other pictures of women’s clothing found in that apartment. Watching the news clip on NBC 7 covering this case and finding out that hundreds of videos and pictures were taken of unconscious women on Smith’s cell phone.
Seeing my story travel through social media like wildfire and then reading comments like “brings a new meaning of the term ‘sloppy seconds’“ or calling me a worthless slut with zero self-respect and referencing my vagina to a hotel corridor where random people come and go and don’t give a fuck.
At one moment, I cheered to know the Efficient Pickup website was shut down only to quickly discover that another company was already spun up by them with a fancier marketing video. My stomach continues to cringe when I hear the words “rape,” “roofie,” even “train.” It creeps up on me when I least expect it in movies, TV shows, and punch lines.
I have cried endlessly until my body couldn’t anymore, horrified of these type of men—and from this pickup artist community I never knew existed until now.
These memories, names, faces, and actions continue to haunt me every day and night. I fear for the retaliation on challenging rape culture and this pickup artist mentality. But I fear even more for the other women in San Diego and across the globe that will also become victims of these teachings.
My only strength these past several years, close to three years now, is to see these trials through and to know these three sexual predators will not harm another person or teach others how to do so.