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“I Don’t Think You’ll Understand” – How Music Can Help Us End Violence

Woman with dandelionMusic is powerful. It’s a medium like no other – thoughts, feelings and raw emotions laced with rhythms and chord progressions that keep the message flowing.

Music for so many is an escape. It provides a chance to reflect on personal events that happen in life and an opportunity to relate to another human being. Who hasn’t said at one point “hey, that line says exactly how I feel right now…”

But what happens when that line brings to light an experience that you’ve worked hard to forget? Or gives you chilling insight into someone else’s pain?

Cue The Weeknd’s major hit, In the Night.

While the song has that catchy melody, toe tapping beat, and soaring vocals, it also relays an important message that is gaining far less attention than it should. The song documents a woman’s experience of violence, which, as the chorus says, many peopledon’t understand. The song is catchy, but in this case, the lyrics are the most important part. The Weeknd brought to life an issue that other artists might shy away from and turned it into a Top 40s hit. 

When I first heard In the Night, the song stood out to me in so many ways that I knew I wanted to do a rendition of it. Upon listening further, I realized that I not only wanted to perform this song, but do it in a way where the lyrics came first. Hence the stripped down version.

The message?  This anonymous woman who, like so many others, has experienced violence doesn’t think you’ll understand her trauma.

It’s a line with so much weight behind it. And ultimately, it’s true. We will never truly understand what a woman has gone through when she has been a victim of violence.

I know women who have experienced violence, women who have confided in me and have told me their stories. Each time I am horrified, shocked and angry that someone would hurt those I care so deeply about. I listen, offer help, support and positive reinforcement. And every time I want to do more.

This is why I am doing my part to help raise awareness about violence against women, raise funds for violence prevention, and break down the stigma around talking about this issue. I hope that others who are reading this will do the same.

We need to not only hear but really listen to the voices of survivors. It isn’t up to them alone to end violence. Supporters and allies have a key role to play in raising awareness, challenging a culture that minimizes violence, and acting to prevent violence before it starts.

Stigma should never get in the way of being there for a victim of violence. While supporters may never truly understand, at the very least, we can listen, we can provide solace and we can all take giant leaps toward change – creating a world where that solace doesn’t need to be searched for in the first place.

Music is powerful. We can be too.

Kurtis Kennedy-Singer’s version of In the Night is available on iTunes and Bandcamp. All proceeds will support the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s violence prevention work.


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