Despite constant pleas from numerous voices in the community to stamp out sexual assault at gigs, and in general, it seems the message still isn’t getting through. With a festival in Sweden being forced to shut down due to a high number of sexual assaults, and with bands taking their own personal initiatives to stamp out this behaviour, it’s hard to believe that this behaviour still occurs. It seems that no one is more surprised than Circa Survive guitarist Brendan Ekstrom, who stopped a recent show mid-set to put a stop to an assault happening in the crowd.
As Alternative Press reports, the group were playing in St. Louis, Missouri, a few days ago as part of their tour with AFI and Citizen, when Ekstrom left the stage to venture into the audience.
While some audience, and band members, were left confused as to what was happening, Ekstrom later took to Twitter to explain that he had witnessed a fan trying to ‘flirt’ with a female audience member. As the exchange went on, it became clear that she was not consenting to his advances, and Ekstrom’s attempts to bring it to the attention of security in attendance fell flat.
“Quick note to those who were at the show last night,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never walked of stage during a song before. For almost a whole song I watched a guy stand a row behind a girl flirting and then trying to kiss her. It was hard to tell what was really happening. At times she seemed OK with his advances but after the second time of watching her push his face and hands away and try to turn back to watch the show I asked the security guard to go check on them. He couldn’t see what I was pointing to and it was still happening I left the stage and walked straight for them, my mind an emotional blur. Security followed me.”
“The man seemed dumbfounded when I showed up as if nothing was wrong. I don’t know what happened after. I went back to stage to finish the show. Security took it from there. I didn’t see them again after that. Maybe they were removed or just moved. Maybe they were in a relationship. Maybe they weren’t. Regardless what I saw from stage was disturbing to me and completely removed me from the mindset I need to be on stage. It wasn’t cute. It was alarming. I’m almost forty and flirting doesn’t look like that. Maybe It’s that I have a daughter or that I’m older.
“Maybe it’s that I watched this video not long before we played and I couldn’t shake it. I really don’t know but it made me furious to watch a girl forcibly remove someone’s hands from her body multiple times. I still don’t feel great about how I handled this situation. I borderline blacked out in some weird rage mode. It makes me nervous to think about how I would handle situations like this in the future especially if it was with someone I knew or cared about especially if it is my daughter. I don’t really know what to say about it all. I’m sorry to my band for not communicating the situation better and leaving them standing on stage confused. And I’m sorry to fans who were equally confused and saw a bit of an unusual show.”
Kudos to Ekstrom for taking a stand and doing whatever possible to help out the audience member in need, but it’s rather depressing to think that his actions were needed in the first place.