Why did I feature lines sexual abusers said? Because it shows how much manipulation goes into the abuse. The shaming, blaming, guilt tripping, grooming, abuse of trust, etc.
Watching people in the public eye speak out about their abuse was and inspiring, and In 2018, Halsey’s incredible Women’s Day March speech made something in me snap. It was the last push I needed to speak out and to finally face my demons. I wrote a song called ‘Body’, releasing an overwhelming amount of pain I had been carrying around for years. That song was just for me. That May, I spoke publicly on stage about the abuse at a small showcase event run by a friend, and as terrifying as it was, it was a turning point for my healing process. People at the gig thanked, supported and believed me, and a weight lifted. I wrote and recorded ‘Talk’ around a month later, and began collecting the quotes for the video in the autumn.
What stuck with me most after my experiences were the words my abuser used to manipulate, shame and blame me. The main line that stuck being the one featured on my chest in the video: “There, that wasn’t so bad was it.”. I reached out to everyone I thought would be willing to help, either asking them to provide me with a line or two they remembered their abuser saying to them, or asking them to ask their friends. Every single person I asked was supportive in one way or another, and a total of 18 people gave me lines. I am immensely grateful and thankful that people trusted me with their lines for the project, and words can’t describe how much respect I have for them. Their lines combined with mine came up to 198 quotes in total. There is footage of 159 quotes on my skin and 39 typed out at the end, just before the credits.
There were 4 people on set on the day of filming, myself included, and it was a 14 hour day in total. I was stunned at how dedicated Tom, Gemma and Oscar were to helping me bring my vision into existence, and am still so thankful for their hard work.
During the planning and preparation stage of the ‘Talk’ video, I tore myself apart and healed countless times. Things I had been suppressing came up for healing, and the project took over my entire life. I lost sleep, hair, had countless anxiety and panic attacks, and faced demons I’d either forgotten about or held back for a long time. Editing the footage myself both desensitised and destroyed me at the same time. It months for me to have the emotional energy to look over and edit the behind the scenes footage after finishing the main video, which is why that footage was released six months after the main video.
Relationships were also tested during this time. Some were filtered out or filtered themselves out, and the ones that stuck have been the best support system I could have ever asked for. The project and healing broke me more than I thought it would, but changed everything for the better at the same time.
Was it worth it? Yes. The energy from those experiences has been repurposed and reborn as something I believe to be healing and educational - showing people another side to sexual abuse, and reminding the victims they are not alone.
Releasing this project into the world was absolutely nerve racking, but it felt like something I had to do. I’m not a well known artist at all, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a voice. I believe whoever is meant to find this project and find healing from it, will, and if it manages to help even a handful of people out there, it will have done it’s job.