Tori Amos: ‘America Really Needs to Have a Conversation About Sexual Assault’
Singer/songwriter Tori Amos has urged lawmakers to take a closer look at sexual assault because attacks are on the rise. The “Cornflake Girl” hitmaker, who was assaulted at knifepoint when she was 21, admits she is forever running into fans with terrible tales of rape and molestation at the hands of family friends, loved ones and strangers.
And while she has always been able to channel her emotions in songs, so many young women just have to live with the abuse. Now 53, Amos tells People, “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. People would start coming to the shows in 1991 and 1992 to talk to me about their stories.” And much to Amos’ dismay, the problem is still out there – and it seems to be worse. “The issue isn’t going away, and in 2016 we’ve heard about a lot of cases happening right now,” she adds. “It’s pervasive, and it’s an urgent conversation to have.” The singer admits she came close to breaking the law in 1994 when a 16-year-old victim of sexual assault came to her for help after a show, revealing her stepfather was raping her every night. “I was told by my legal people that if I took her [with me], I would be charged with kidnapping because we were crossing state lines that night… I couldn’t do anything, and there weren’t a lot of options for her in 1994.” Her helplessness led Amos to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). She’s now one of the leading voices in a new Netflix documentary about sexual assault and consent among teenagers. In the film, titled Audrie & Daisy, she says, “We’ve all been hearing about the problem [of sexual assault] on our college campuses. The reality that it’s now in the high schools and middle schools was painful to accept. 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.”