Tori Amos Opens Up About Sexual Assault and What She is Doing To Help Others
After being sexually assaulted at knifepoint when she was 21 years old, Tori Amos says it was through her music that she found the strength to heal and was then able to help other young women who had been in similar situations.
“I had written a song called ‘Me and a Gun’ that was about a brutal sexual assault, and people would be coming to the shows to hear that song, although it was a tough song for some people to listen to,” Amos tells PEOPLE. “People would start coming to the shows in 1991 and 1992 to talk to me about their stories.”
One night after a show in 1994, a victim of sexual assault approached Amos for help. She told Amos she was being “raped by her stepfather” every night and would again that night if she went back home. But because the young girl was only 16 years old, the singer was not able to whisk her away as she wished to.
“I was told by my legal people that if I [took her on my tour bus with me] I would be charged with kidnapping because we were crossing state lines that night,” Amos says about how she ultimately made the decision to join the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Newtork (RAINN) that year. “As you can see, in that moment, I couldn’t do anything, and there weren’t a lot of options for her in 1994.”
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Sadly, today, the issue isn’t getting any better.
“Year after year, the organization has been there and the amount of calls have increased, so the issue isn’t going away and in 2016 we’ve heard about a lot of cases happening right now,” she says. “It’s pervasive, and it’s an urgent conversation to have.”
Continuing the conservation is Netflix’s new documentary, Audrie & Daisy, which addresses the pressing issues of sexual assault and consent among teenagers, both men and women—and Amos teamed with the film to produce its original song.
“We’ve all been hearing about the problem [of sexual assault] on our college campuses,” Amos says about the film, which includes real tragic stories from survivors. “The reality that it’s now in the high schools and middle schools was painful to accept.”
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She continues, “The movie brought up many issues about our communities—that it’s just not one type of neighborhood—so I began to realize that not only is this problem not going away, but it’s getting younger where teenagers are doing this to other teenagers.”
Though the film is centered on three cases that occurred in the U.S., the film’s title is derived from the stories of two high school students, Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, who both fought tirelessly for their lives, but only one survived.
“I’m looking forward to meeting Daisy, but I don’t get to meet Audrie nor does anyone else now because she’s dead,” Amos says. “The filmmakers have been meeting with young women, as well as young men, that want to talk about the issue—young men who are shocked and horrified that this is happening to their female friends and even some of their male friends.”
Audrie & Daisy is now available for streaming on Netflix.