Song: Sullen Girl
Artist: Fiona Apple
Release date: July 23, 1996
Why this song was chosen: Fiona Apple sings this song about a time when she was raped at 12 years old, the day before Thanksgiving. She was raped right outside of her mother’s apartment by a man who followed her into the complex. She could hear her dog barking and growling on the other side of the door. After the incident happened, the stranger (who she recalls looking like Jimi Hendrix) coldly said “Happy Thanksgiving. Next time don’t let strangers in.”
What the artist has to say about the song: In an interview with NUVO in 1997, Fiona Apple as asked ” I read a post on the Internet from a young girl who had been victimized by someone and her position was like, ‘I can talk about this now because Fiona Apple can talk about what happened to her.’ Do you look at yourself as a role model for women and girls who’ve had this experience?” Fiona responded ” That’s the only reason I ever brought the whole rape thing up. It’s a terrible thing, but it happens to so many people. I mean, 80 percent of the people I’ve told have said right back to me, ‘That happened to me too.’ It’s so common, and so ridiculous that it’s a hard thing to talk about. It angers me so much because something like that happens to you and you carry it around for the rest of your life. No matter how much therapy you go through, no matter how much healing you go through, it’s part of you. I just feel that it’s such a tragedy that so many people have to bear the extra burden of having to keep it secret from everyone else. As if it’s too icky a subject to burden other people with and everyone’s going to think you’re a victim forever. Then you’ve labeled yourself a victim, and you’ve been taken advantage of, and you’re ruined, and you’re soiled, and you’re not pure, you know. If I’m in a position where people are looking up to me in any way, then it’s absolutely my responsibility to be open and honest about this, because if I’m not, what does that say to people? It doesn’t change a person — well, it does change a person but it doesn’t take anything away from you. It can only strengthen you. It has made me so angry in the past. Like I wanted to say it to somebody. I really wanted somebody to connect with, somebody to understand me, somebody to comfort me. But I felt like I couldn’t say anything about because it was taboo to talk about. (Source: Never Is A Promise)
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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.