Shaant Hacikyan is the lead singer of Cute Is What We Aim For, a mid-level emo/punk band from Buffalo, New York who experienced some success in the early 2000s and have recently experienced a bit of resurgence due to a 10-year anniversary tour of their debut album, The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch. Good for them, emo is back etc etc.
Except wait, in the midst of their return to the spotlight the band’s lead singer, the aforementioned Shaant, had some thoughts about Brock Turner, the rapist who was formerly a swimmer at Stanford, and who served three months of a six months sentence for the crime of penetrating an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. He called that “party culture.”
Turns out Hacikyan was upset about the shaming of Turner, the rapist, and decided to weigh in on Facebook with his thoughts on rape culture. Basically, he think rape culture doesn’t exist at all. Unsurprisingly, he ascribes to the idea that victims of sexual assault are “playing the victim” (that’s a crucial part of rape culture), and though the comments have since been deleted Aux.TV preserved them via screenshot:
Okay, so, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, one of the best resource and research centers on sexual assault in America, a sexual assault occurs every two minutes in the US. Further statistics are available via Rainn.org and they are all equally chilling.
Rape culture is very real and denying its existence, placing the blame on victims, and further defending the people who commit these crimes with almost no consequences are all part of perpetuating its existence. If Turner is facing public backlash for raping an unconscious woman, and your first instinct is pity for him, that’s rape culture at work.
Hacikyan has since apologized and claims to have learned from the experience:
Honestly? Education is all we can hope for following public gaffes like this. I hope he means it and he really did learn the error of his ways. Rape culture is persistent and it isn’t until it this kind of thinking is exposed to the light that it can be carefully dismantled. Unfortunately, that’s a job for all of us.
Resources like Rainn are essential for furthering the conversation, take some time to peruse their site if you’re uninformed about the prevalence of rape culture and want to learn more about how to combat it.
If you have been affected by sexual violence Rainn.org also offers resources for you which can be found here.