I ended up in a mental hospital just after my 13th birthday for a suicide attempt. It was in there that the therapists told me I had been raped. I didn’t know. I didn’t understand that I had agency over my own body. To me, I had sex with my first boyfriend in that cemetery even though I was crying and telling him to stop because it hurt.
I remember hearing this song at a point where I still didn’t understand what rape meant and how it had affected me. Her naked voice with no accompaniment singing about being raped shot like an arrow into my own hurt places.
Of all the lines of the song, it has always been “But I haven’t seen Barbados, so I must get out of this” that has hit me closest to home. To me, that line perfectly combines both the desire to survive and the mental traveling that happens to escape the horror of rape.
This is a painful song to listen to, but it is medicine to me. Tori Amos brought a medicine of truth through this song. In hearing this for the first time, I realized I wasn’t alone in my experiences, even though it would still take years for me to start really dealing with them. And I am still dealing with them.
I am – you are – we are NOT alone.
RAINN – Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network was founded by Tori Amos and is now the largest national organization providing resources for survivors as well as working for policy changes and education the public about sexual violence.