Content Warning: The following article discusses sexual assault and rape.
Justin Sane, the long-time vocalist and guitarist in political punk band Anti-Flag, has been sued for allegedly raping a fan, Kristina Sarhadi, in 2010. The allegations against Sane – real name Justin Geever – led to the band’s break-up in July this year. Sarhadi has now taken legal action, filing a lawsuit in New York just prior to the expiry of the state’s Adult Survivors Act, which waived time limits for civil legal claims related to sexual assaults for one year.
In a statement to social media, Sarhadi claimed she is not the only woman who was abused by the Anti-Flag frontman. “Justin Geever used his platform as a celebrated, self-proclaimed ‘punk rockstar’ to groom and lure vulnerable girls into feeling safe in his presence,” Sarhadi said. According to Pitchfork, the lawsuit names Hardwork Distribution Inc., who distributed Anti-Flag’s records, and another unnamed defendant in addition to Sane.
Sarhadi says she’s received “accounts of abuse and assault from at least 60 women”
Sarhadi continued to emphasise that she is not the only person who was allegedly abused by Geever: “Since I first came forward about my assault this July, I have been contacted by an overwhelming number of women who were also assaulted and irreparably harmed by Justin Geever throughout his 34-year career as a touring musician.”
Sarhadi originally spoke about being assaulted by a singer in a political punk band on an episode of the podcast, Enough, but she did not identify Geever by name. “However, within hours it became clear that I was not his only victim,” she wrote.
Sarhadi continued, “The scores of messages I have received from around the world since then, including accounts of abuse and assault from at least 60 women – most of whom reportedly were children and teens when they encountered Geever, who is now 50 years old – made it impossible from me to stay silent.”
Anti-Flag broke up within days of the podcast episode coming out. “Anti-Flag has disbanded,” the band wrote on its Patreon page. “The Patreon has been switched into a mode where it will no longer charge the monthly fee. I will begin to process refunds to all patrons in the coming weeks. Once all refunds are processed the Patreon page will also be removed.”
The band’s three other members, Pat Thetic, Chris Head and Chris Barker, released a statement about the sudden decision to break up. “A core tenet of the band Anti-Flag is to listen to and believe all survivors of sexual violence and abuse,” they said. “The recent allegations about Justin are in direct contradiction to that tenet. Therefore, we felt the only immediate option was to disband.”
Posting on Instagram, Geever denied all of the accusations. “Recently, there have been claims of sexual assault made against me and I can tell you that these stories are categorically false,” he wrote. “I have never engaged in a sexual relationship that was not consensual, nor have I ever been approached by a woman after a sexual encounter and been told I had in any way acted without her consent or violated her in any way.”
If you need assistance, 1800 RESPECT – the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service — can be reached on 1800 737 732.
For help or information regarding mental health, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.