By: Devin Riggs, Regular Contributor
Trigger Warning: Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault
It was basic curiosity that made me tune into the Grammy Awards on Sunday evening. As an avid music fan I like to see artists out in the wild so to speak. It’s a fun night to celebrate outstanding work in the musical arts. I made myself dinner and took a seat to relax and listen to the great music collaborations that the Grammys are famous for.
It was a pretty normal event. No big surprises. Not many crazy shenanigans. Sam Smith swept most of the major categories. Kanye West gave us a minor flashback to the 2009 VMAs, which was only kind of funny. And Farrell Williams wore another strange hat.
The turning point in the evening was President Barack Obama addressing the Grammy audience and those watching at home.
The topic? Domestic violence.
In his minute and a half speech, Obama spoke about the power musicians have to help change our culture and set an example for their fans, to speak out against violence on women.
Cue the tears. Get me some tissues. The Grammys are getting real.
This is a big deal. Especially since Rihanna had to cancel her Grammy performance in 2009 after an altercation with her then partner, Chris Brown, right before the ceremony.
Brooke Axtell, a sexual assault survivor, followed Obama by performing a spoken word piece introducing Katy Perry’s performance of “By the Grace of God” off her latest album “Prism.”
This is a big deal because every 107 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. The statistics are staggering, every single one of them. It’s even more upsetting knowing that many of my friends and loved ones are part of those statistics. “Upset” doesn’t begin to cover how I feel about the traumas they have gone through. It makes me angry. So angry.
It’s not okay. None of it is okay.
The Grammys have made their statement. They’re finally getting it right, even if it might seem too late. They aren’t going to stand for violence. They are going to protect and support the victims. They are using their voice to change our culture at a time when we so desperately need it.
Change does not happen when we are silent. Change does not happen when we ignore those who need to be heard. So let’s start the conversation.
Please make the pledge to end sexual assault and domestic violence at itsonus.org.
If you have experienced sexual assault please visit https://www.notalone.gov/ for resources. And please remember:
“Authentic love does not devalue another human being. Authentic love does not silence, shame or abuse. If you are in a relationship with someone who does not honor and respect you, I want you to know that you are worthy of love. Please reach out for help. Your voice will save you. Let it extend into the night, let it part the darkness. Let it set you free to know who you truly are – valuable, beautiful, loved.”
–Brooke Axtell, Domestic Violence Survivor
Domestic violence has been a big deal in the media lately, considering this PSA and the commercial during the super bowl. How much responsibility do you think public figures have to help end social issues like domestic violence?
Devin has a degree in education with a focus in English. She is working to publish her first collection of poetry while also learning the art of patience. Her passions include Doctor Who, penguins, hats and scarves, potatoes, dancing, photography, and making people happy. She believes in the healing powers of music, spending time in the great outdoors, and a good night sleep.