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Song: Jonestown Tea Sevas-Tra-cover

Artist: Otep

Album: Sevas Tra

Release date: June 18, 2002

Why this song was chosen: I know we have a disclaimer below about lyrics and content, but I have to say…this song is the most hard to read one we’ve posted yet. The song is 9 minutes long, and like the Dark Angel song we featured, it is chock full of lyrics. This one is the first one to touch on one very important, yet overlooked detail. It’s illustrated in the line“And I remember him fucking me, and I remember liking it.”Let us remember that sexual contact is meant to feel good physically. And so many times, that physical feeling overshadows the red flags that go off. Or the extreme mental anguish that is going to follow. This is one of the main, yet often unspoken, factors that cause so much turmoil for the victim. This is one of the main reasons shame is felt. The thought is “well, if I enjoyed that, I must be at least partly to blame.” This resonates with me on a very deep level. I was a young boy going through puberty, and I was able to look at pornography. Not only able, but allowed and encouraged. For a boy who was first realizing his sexuality, this was something I thought I wanted. Of course, children and young adults aren’t able to make these kinds of decisions. Even with proper education, they don’t always realize the damage that sexual abuse can cause. This is why it is absolutely imperative that adults act like adults and protect our children. I have never been a huge fan of Otep, if I am being honest. But I am so thankful that this aspect is mentioned in their song and in her story. Despite hearing people’s stories on a daily basis while working for this organization, it’s still very easy as a victim of sex abuse to feel alone in certain angles of one’s story. Today, I have a bit of company.

What the artist has to say about the song: The band Otep is fronted by Otep Shamaya, who is very vocal and outspoken about the violence, abuse, and poverty she experienced as a child. She has even done work with RAINN, creating a video encouraging people who have experienced sexual assault to speak up. She was interviewed in 2007 by MetalUnderground and spoke about this track and how others have perceived it. “Then, other things where people come to me and say, ‘I was abused as a kid and your music helped me confront that’, it’s really touching. Two girls used the song off the first record, ‘Jonestown Tea’, to tell their mother that their father was molesting them and he went to prison. And some girl in South Carolina gave me a piece of her blanket to put on my mic stand that was held over her face when she was 3 years old when she was molested by her mother’s boyfriend, I mean, that’s REAL, you know, and of course, it’s on my mic stand. That’s reason enough to stay in touch with people.” (Source: MetalUnderground)

How do you think this song contributes to the conversation on sex crimes?

Is there a song you think belongs here? Let us know in the comments!

Also please share with your friends; you never know who needs encouragement to tell their story.

Read the lyrics here.

Possible trigger warning. As with all of the content we post, the songs in the Every Day In May campaign should be listened to at your own discretion. Some may make you feel uplifted and others may make you feel angry, disturbed, or disgusted. The songs should also be considered not safe for work.

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