What Tori Amos Learned From Her Sexual Assault

One of the first things you learn about alt-girl favorite Tori Amos is that she was raped when she was younger. Anyone who listens to her chilling song, “Me And A Gun,” off her Little Earthquakes album knows that and Amos has been honest about her assault for years.

Recently, Amos bravely opened up to London’s Guardian newspaper for their “What I Know About Men,” feature, in which a famous woman shares her secrets about the opposite sex. But Amos’ heartbreaking piece may as well have been titled “How Being Raped Affected My Life.” It was only after giving birth to her daughter that she “claimed [her] body back” and through the love of her husband that she could have a healthy relationship with men.Amos learned the worst way possible about the difference between power and intimidation, she said, but being sexually assaulted and the ramifications throughout her life have given her an appreciation for the healthy power that the sexes exert over each other. She said:

“When you’re dealing with men with real power they only want you if you’re willing. It’s about the dance between the male and female. Real power is about exchange, not subordination. For some people a powerful man is a bully. He’s powerful because he scares people. And I would say that’s not a powerful man—that’s an intimidating man, a man who uses intimidation tactics. A powerful man is a man that knows who he is and doesn’t need to manipulate people to get what he wants.”

Troubling, but Amos said her marriage is the only truly healthy relationship she has ever been in with a man. She believes that her British husband can handle her with care better than an American man could because he believes, as she puts it, “in woman’s right to her own sovereignty.” He has not been ingrained with the idea that her body belongs in some way to him and that’s been integral to her own healing:

“It took the love of a good man [to heal]. When I was reverting back into my, let’s say, perversions, he would say: ‘Let’s go get an ice cream. I am not going to enable you. If you can only come as a wanton woman for hire, because you feel dirty and shamed, then no. Women are goddesses.’ And I know that and I believe that. I chose a man who believed that, too.”

Wise words from a strong woman. [Guardian UK]