American culture is both exciting, horrifying and as a result confusing. Two statements about sexual assault in the same news cycle–first you have prominent members of the GOP suggest that god, not the fertilization of an egg, causes pregnancy and when you are impregnated after being sexually assaulted,
you deserve it you filthy whore, it’s what God intended.
And within the same news cycle–the release of one of the most brave and powerful testimonials I’ve ever heard, describing in great detail years of sexual abuse.
Angel Haze, an up-and-coming rapper, has released a new track about her years of sexual abuse as a child. The power of her voice, meticulousness with which she tells her story and the confidence in her experience makes this a special moment in hip0hop culture–especially for those of us that have always recognized the power of rhymes and storytelling. It’s also a reminder of the power of sharing our stories about sexual assault and trauma as she shares stories many of us can’t tell after years of writing and discussing them–fear keeping us silent.
But not Haze–at 21, ironically over an Eminem beat, she tells us about her years of suffering through sexual abuse and the consequences on her mental state, from suicidal tendencies to eating disorders. She tells the NYTimes about her fear and anxiety in sharing this story, but her hope and relief in telling it as well,
My ultimate goal was to let go of all of it, the things that kind of haunt me in a way. I know it’s important in music to be honest with who you are, because this world is so full of lost kids who go through the same thing I went through, whose end result is ultimately suicide or drugs. And they don’t know they are strong enough to get through it. They don’t have an example. Too many people are afraid to say, “This happened to me and look what I did with it.”
Her story is not for the faint of heart–but a necessary and important narrative in a culture where prominent politicians have tried to remove services for sexual assault survivors, have suggested that what a woman is wearing, saying or drinking makes her a deserving target for sexual assault and wing-nuts that believe that when a woman, or a young girl, is sexually assaulted and as a result impregnated, it’s “God’s will” to force her to carry it to term.
I appreciate how direct and clear her message is, even though it is gut-wrenching and triggering to hear. One of the most powerful ways to change reality is to tell our story and add it to the noise with the hope of it breaking through and reaching the right ears.
Check out the track ”Cleaning out My Closet,” which will be on a mixtape she is releasing today!