On December 22, 2016, Cristian Aldana, vocalist for Argentine alternative rock group El Otro Yo, was arrested on charges of sexual abuse of minors. Several women have filed charges against Aldana, with some outlets counting as many as 10 victims in the charges.
On January 3, three of the victims – who appear only as Ariell, Charlie, and Felicitas – denounced Aldana in a video produced by feminist news outlet Matria. In the emotional 10-minute clip, the women recount the abuse allegations, which include sexual contact below the age of consent, as well as manipulation, humiliation, verbal, physical and sexual violence. The victims claim that they were between the ages of 13 and 14 when Aldana first abused them.
The news of Aldana’s arrest comes at a time when reports of gender-based violence in the music industry have skyrocketed. In April 2016, the Argentine government launched an investigation into the El Otro Yo vocalist when a Facebook group called Victims of Cristian Aldana emerged online. The group appeared in the wake of similar accusations against another musician, José Miguel del Pópolo of the bands La Ola Que Quería Ser Chau and Los Migues earlier that year. In October, Sabú Avilés, a member of Mexican garage rock bands Los Explosivos and Los Infierno, was also accused of sexual assault, sparking debate over gender-based violence in the Mexican indie community.
According to Argentine newspaper La Nación, El Otro Yo posted a statement on their official Facebook fan page following Aldana’s arrest. In the now deleted post, the band stated that Aldana will testify in a “routine” procedure. The statement claimed Aldana is innocent and urged fans to stay calm. The band’s Facebook page has since been deleted.
Last year, the Ni Una Menos campaign organized a march denouncing violence against women in Argentina (and spawned similar demonstrations across Latin America), with several victims attending in hopes of raising awareness around Aldana’s alleged crimes. As Big Bang News suggests, ironically, the singer attended the march dressed as a nun, singing songs about peace and love with an acoustic guitar.
A judge denied Aldana bail and ordered the seizure of his assets valued at $2.5 million pesos while he remains in custody. If convicted, Aldana faces up to 10 years in jail.