No one is free from oppression and inequality until we all are. That’s the message Halsey delivered when speaking at the 2018 Women’s March in New York on Saturday.
In her five minutes speaking to the crowd, Halsey detailed her own history of sexual abuse in a beautifully-crafted poem, “A Story Like Mine,” sharing the upsetting reality that many women have experienced and continue to face.
The singer discussed this shared experience and the women she watched be affected. That includes her best friend Sam, with whom Halsey attended a Planned Parenthood appointment as a teenager because Sam had been raped by someone who worked at their school. It includes Halsey’s own experience with abusive neighbor boys, boyfriends, and men she thought she trusted. And it includes the dozens of athletes and Olympians such as Simone Biles and Aly Raisman who have testified that their gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused them while in his care.
In her poem, Halsey reflects on how she “naively” believed that because she had worked so hard to get where she is and because she had performed hours after having a miscarriage to prove her commitment, her talent and fame made her immune to suffering abuse at the hands of men.
“What do you mean, this happened to me?” she yells, asking herself hypothetically. “I’m supposed to be safe now. I earned it. It’s 2018 and I’ve realized that nobody is safe ‘long as she is alive and every friend that I know has a story like mine, and the world tells me we should take it as a compliment.'”
She then reflected on why the crowd attended Saturday’s march—for the women of the #MeToo and resulting Time’s Up movements who have suffered and survived abuse and for those who can’t advocate for themselves.
“It’s Olympians and a medical resident and not one fucking word from the man who is president,” she says. “It’s about closed doors and secrets and legs and stilettos, from the Hollywood Hills to the projects and ghettos … Listen, and then yell at the top of your lungs. Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues.”
After her speech, Halsey thanked the audience on Twitter.
Hoping to upload my speech at some point later for those of you who weren’t there. If you’re supporting from anywhere in the world, the streets, your home, your job: We thank you.— h (@halsey) January 20, 2018
Watch Halsey’s full speech below: