Taylor Swift Pauses Concert to Deliver Emotional Speech to Sexual Assault Survivors

At her concert in Tampa, Tuesday night, singer Taylor Swift gave an emotional speech on the one-year anniversary of winning her sexual assault case.

“A year ago I was not playing in a stadium in Tampa, I was in a courtroom in Denver, Colorado,” she said. “This is the day the jury sided in my favor and said that they believed me.”

The “Delicate” singer went on to acknowledge sexual assault survivors who unfortunately aren’t believed. Before performing “Long Live,” she said:

I just want to think about all the people who weren’t believed or who haven’t been believed, or who are afraid to speak up because they don’t think they will be believed. And I just want to say that I’m sorry to everyone who ever wasn’t believed because I don’t know what turn my life would take if people hadn’t believed me when I said that something had happened. And I just wanted to say that we have so, so, so much further to go, and I’m so grateful for you guys for being there for me during what was a really, really horrible part of my life.

The fear of not being believed is something Mighty contributor Monika Sudakov is familiar with. In her piece, “5 Reasons Sexual Assault Survivors Don’t Open Up About Their Abuse,” she wrote, “We are afraid nobody will believe us. Especially if it’s a relative, someone well known or someone powerful. The odds are we will be disbelieved and that’s humiliating.”

According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police — two-thirds go unreported. In addition to the fear of not being believed, victims often don’t report because they don’t believe anything will be done. The criminal justice system still overwhelmingly favors the perpetrator. Out of every 1,000 rapes, only six perpetrators will go to jail.

Swift ended her speech with a thank you to fans — both for believing her and for sharing their own hardships with her:

Sorry, I just haven’t really talked about it, and I’m just really not composed at all. A while ago, I wrote a song, that’s about how I feel when you guys all come together, and are so wonderfully supportive and incredible. And so, for me, this song is always, always going to be about you, ups and downs, win or lose, you guys have always been there for me, so thank you so much for that.

If you are struggling with past sexual trauma and need to talk to someone right now, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. To learn more about sexual assault prevention and access resources, visit Rainn.org.

Header image via Taylor Swift Facebook page

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