Don’t Silence Me is an anthem, written and performed by Sadie Jemmett. It was inspired by the #MeToo movement and specifically the “assault of her friend, actress Mhairi Morrison” (Press Release).
#MeToo hit social media like a wave, as women decided it was time to speak up, and to show each other they were not alone. The simple act of using a hashtag on social media has empowered women to come forward, to support each other and unify. The power of knowing you aren’t alone, that there are other people who understand and do not blame you has fundamentally changed the way society views sexual assault, and has lead to the outing of many rich and powerful sexual predators. One only needs to read about the allegations against likes of Harvey Weinstein to see the magnitude of the impact. Whilst there is still a long way to go, and power still very much lies with “the man” and his sense of entitlement to help himself to what or whomever he chooses, the movement is strong and united, and women refuse to stay silent, and that is the most powerful thing. Change is coming, you can’t fight it forever.
Mhairi Morrison made the decision to come forward about the assault on her by an influential French Film director in 2018, empowered by the #MeToo movement, and after a lot of soul searching, agreed to be involved in the video for Don’t Silence Me, a song that was inspired by her bravery and the bravery of all of the women who have decided it’s time to break the silence.
The video itself is beautiful, sad and empowering. All different types of women remove gags with words on them that have been used to belittle them, to make them feel small and insignificant, and the ripping off of these gags is a powerful show of unity. The message is clear: you are not alone, and through this shared experience, that society has told you is a thing you just have to live with, you have found solidarity and power. Society is wrong. Sexual assault, harassment, abuse, or anything that makes you uncomfortable is not something you have to live with, and you are not alone.
The music is catchy, it stays in your head and you find yourself humming it, and the words, whilst being a message of strength and unity are also deeply sad, as women we’ve heard all the put downs before, and we know them too well. We are conditioned into subservience, and standing up and saying no is both the hardest and the bravest thing we can do.
Whilst I have been following the process of the video being made, and talking to Mhairi on and off I was not expecting the impact both the video and the song would have on me. I am used to writing music reviews, but I had to step away from this and come back and rewatch it the next day. I just wanted to cry. It was so powerful and true. I cannot emphasise enough how important this is, and everyone need to see it. Please share it with your friends, let’s get the message out there that women will not be silent anymore.
And to anyone out there who is reading this and feeling that they are not ready to come out and cry #MeToo yet, you’re fine. You’re still brave, you’re still valid. You survived, and you’re going on, and when you are ready, you are not alone, we are here and will support you. You aren’t alone.