Silence is the Enemy: Singing those uncomfortable stories

i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgHave you ever bought an album and discovered a song so dark, so sad that it makes you physically uncomfortable to listen to it? What do you do then? Can you stand to hear it or do you skip the track in favor of something a little lighter?

For me, the songs that twist my stomach in knots are the ones with stories of domestic violence, child abuse, or rape. And when I find one of those songs, I force myself not to delete it from my playlists and I pay attention when my iTunes shuffle pops it up. The singers recorded those songs for a reason - to tell us that terrible things are happening around us even when we don't want to admit it. They are reminding us that Silence is the Enemy.

Below the fold, I've embedded the you-tube videos of four gut wrenching songs from some of my favorite artists. They tell stories of domestic violence, child abuse, rape, and murder. They are not happy songs to listen to, but they are important. If you are up for it, please click through and listen to the stories. Then think about what you can do break the silence.

If you are victim of domestic violence, abuse, or rape, please know that it is not your fault. Tell someone (police, pastor, doctor, therapist, crisis line) what's going on, get help, and get away from your abuser.

If you know someone who is a victim, you should be supportive and non-judgemental of your friend's actions or inactions. Your friend does not deserve to be a victim, but it can be very hard to get out of an abusive situation. Find your friend the appropriate resources (rape crisis center, women's shelter, or lawyer) and encourage your friend to seek help. If you think your friend is in imminent danger, call the police. And, if your friend does get out of the bad situation, remember that physical wounds may heal but emotional wounds can last a lifetime.

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If you know someone who is a victim, you should be supportive and non-judgemental of your friend's actions or inactions. Your friend does not deserve to be a victim, but it can be very hard to get out of an abusive situation.

Ask -- very, very seriously -- if there is anything you can do to help. Then shut up and listen -- this isn't about you.

Too often the "there's nothing anyone can do" syndrome is in charge, but could you ever live with yourself if you didn't at least take the chance?

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 18 Jun 2009 #permalink

I can't see what the videos are since they are blocked here at work. So I apologize if it's up there already.

The song that first came to mind for me was Tori Amos and "Me and A Gun".

Before I add any more songs, I'll wait until I get home and can see what you have up there already. Thanks for this post though, it gave a different way to get the message out. Music is a power thing.

To Jessika and others who might be similarly blocked: The four songs are Tracy Chapman's Behind the Walls, Suzanne Vega's Luka, Tori Amos's Me and A Gun, and Tori Amos's cover of '97 Bonnie and Clyde (which tops my list of all-time creepiest songs).

I thought immediately of "Strange Fruit," originally performed by Billie Holiday, but Nina Simone's version is also chilling.

While I realize that this post is over six months old - I will say that Eve Ensler's amazing work to end violence against women continues and the V-day event is beginning in full swing for 2010. Check to locate an event near you or just to find out what is happening.

Also - I wrote a tune years ago for a woman who had been beaten and threatened with death by her lover that you may want to give a listen:
go to:…

and listen to "Song For Delores Brooks"

Silence IS the Enemy...