April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month – a time to recognize and support victims, and more importantly, discuss measures we need to take in society to address the causes of such violence.
Ishani, an Indian born trip-hop artist whose upcoming EP ‘Safe Place’ is due for release this Spring, releases a new music video for ‘Don’t Stop The Fight’ (first single from the EP) which takes a different angle on this social injustice.
The video shows the reactions of five girls to abuse on a night out. While the assaults themselves are not shown, it is the girls’ contrasting reactions that highlight the emotional and physical impact of the violence they have faced.
The video starts full of optimism with each girl dressing up excitedly ahead of their night out on the town. However, the warning signs are there, with Ishani herself acting as narrator to this dark tale. As she sings her lyrics “Don’t you know that she’s scared to cross the road,” we see her on a London bus at night, police lights passing by and then glass breaking behind her.
“Everyone is different and when sexual or physical abuse happens, the result is always the same: intense and deep pain, but that can manifest itself in different types of behaviour” says Ishani.
Here are the 5 reactions we see in the video:
1. Shock and disbelief
The girl who we saw taking selfies in her kitchen just hours before, is now sat alone staring into the night from the window of her bedroom. This is a very common reaction. One of absolute shock that another human would be capable of doing this to her.
2. Angry and afraid
In one of the more visually shocking reactions, a girl goes from singing into her hairbrush before her night out, to screaming in pain and anger upon her return with bruises on her face.
3. Confused and isolated
A girl who waved goodbye to a loving family a few hours earlier can no longer walk into her own home. She feels lost and isolated by the assault and we see the confusion on her face about what has happened to her.
4. Feeling damaged and unclean
One girl desperately tries to wash away what has happened. We see her vigorously trying to rub off every last trace of her abuser, whilst still wearing her clothes, sunk to the bottom of the bath under the running shower.
5. Extreme sadness
Where once was a beautiful and bubbly girl, excitedly getting ready for a night out, instead we see a girl sucked of life and curled up on her bed. She is battered with a terrible black eye and her expression is of complete despair and sorrow.
The message of the video is clear. Every girl should be able to go out and have fun, and come home safe without being afraid of what could happen!
Of course, some girls don’t even get to react as the video also shows that one girl, who got into a stranger’s car, is left for dead in a park.
If you are a victim of sexual or physical abuse and would like to speak with somebody, or get help, then there is a number of organisations that offer free information and assistance.
• In the US: Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
• In Canada: Visit ShelterSafe to find the helpline of a women’s shelter near you.
• UK: Call Women’s Aid UK at 0808 2000 247.
• Ireland: Call Women’s Aid at 1800 341 900.
• Australia: Call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.
• Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centres.
Hailing from India, Ishani spent her childhood in the sprawling metropolis that is Bangalore. She then studied TV, Film and Radio in Singapore before moving to London where she studied Audio Engineering at Alchemea & Point Blank. After her track ‘Pelican Elephant’ was picked up by MTV India and she was showcased as a BBC introducing artist in London, she was invited to perform at Sziget Festival and Be My Lake Festival in Hungary.
Deeply influenced by artists such as Massive Attack, Portishead, Morcheeba and Hooverphonic she began working on new music that would eventually take shape in the form of her fist single ‘Don’t Stop the Fight’ and upcoming EP – ‘Safe Place’ Despite an outgoing personality that quickly draws an infectious attention, her music takes on a somewhat melancholic and darker undertone than one would expect.