April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Lindsay Ell has penned a personal letter about her own experience as a survivor.
At the top of the month, Ell teamed up with Sounds Like Nashville for the letter, which saw her detail the traumatic experience when she was just 13. "I believe it is one of the most dangerous and insidious human conditions, yet it seems widely accepted and seldom discussed," she kicked off the note. "The thing about apathy is that you can get to a place where you don’t necessarily feel sad or angry – you feel nothing. You lose all motivation and it can affect every aspect of your life. The things you once loved no longer excite you."
"It took me seven years to tell my parents," she explained, adding that it happened again when she was 21. "I didn’t know where to start in terms of unpacking any of the emotions I was feeling, let alone to seek therapy to heal. So, I just stopped feeling. I was apathetic to everything. I got really good with the canned response of 'I’m fine.' You know the one. We’ve all heard it said when it isn’t true."
Ell went on to emphasis the enormous burden that comes with not understanding a concept like sexual assault, especially at a young age. "As a victim, oftentimes I would get caught up in the worlds of shame, self-blame and guilt. Eventually, after years of work with therapists I was able to start to see myself as a survivor," she candidly admitted. "I learned that it’s not what happens to us, but what we choose to do as a result that defines who we are. Music was always my one escape."
Ultimately, Ell put her pain into her music when she wrote the track, "make you," for her 2020 LP, heart theory. "One of my favorite lyrics in the song is 'the things that bend, and stain, and break you, that's what's gonna make you.' It serves not only as a lesson to others who might be suffering from trauma, but also a reminder to myself for what I have been able to overcome," Ell continued. "But just as we can all take on a 'what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger' kind of sentiment, that is only possible once you’ve overcome the fear of even admitting something happened to you. Finding that awareness as a sexual assault survivor was honestly half the battle for me. That was when the fog of my apathy began to clear."
"Suppressing our emotions is almost something that is rewarded in our society, especially for women, unfortunately. We are expected to be a 'good girl' who never speaks up when there is a problem," she wrote, before declaring, "But I am not that girl anymore. And I will no longer be silent on this issue."
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