Tori Amos speaks out on sexual assault: 'We have to tackle it with the grownups'

Wendy Geller
Senior Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

For much of Tori Amos’s solo career, the pianist, composer, and singer has fearlessly navigated the passage between the personal and the political. On her latest album, Native Invader, Amos adds a third element, bringing in the increasingly strip-mined earth as both imperiled muse and guiding light. Her 15th album is an intense feast of melody, protest, tenderness, and pain.

Amos, one of the most successful, prolific, and influential artists of her generation, recently visited AOL’s Build Series studio to discuss her process of creating the album, as well as many other subjects on her mind.

Amos, who has a wry sense of humor — throwing in some commentary about her favorite varieties of chocolate, and making jokes about knife fighting with her husband (“we’re still married”) — had an important and timely message for the audience regarding the nation’s current discussion swirling about sexual harassment.

The singer, who famously wrote 1991’s “Me and a Gun” about being raped at the age of 21, has been involved with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) since 1994. When asked her feelings about the timely controversy of abuse of power in Hollywood and beyond, Amos had plenty to say.

“RAINN has received more calls in the last week — the numbers have gone up hugely. And they’ve had to call on resources because it isn’t going away,” she noted. “It’s something that we just really need to be aware — when [2016’s documentary about teenage sexual assault] Audrie & Daisy came out, and it was explained to me that this was now something that was not only in our high schools but our middle schools… it’s not a surprise that it’s in Hollywood and Washington, but in our middle schools?

“Well then, we have to trace it back to the root. We have to tackle it with the grownups,” she continued. “And we have to come forward and realize that if we’ve looked the other way, or if we were afraid to speak up when we were seeing it in the office, well — now is the time to make the change.

“And so yes, there’s grieving going on, the scabs are off with some people, there’s pain and there’s anger and there are all these things. But to really make a change, that is a continued conversation, and that is about boundaries being put in place in the workplace.

“And even if we have some of those pervs still on board, or at the top of the food chain — because there will be pervs, that will still get those jobs — there is a protocol on how to behave and we accept nothing less, or they get called out. There are consequences to acting out on that behavior.”

Watch the full interview with Tori Amos below: