Remember this song? Alanis very clearly states in interviews that it was part of her healing from a relationship with an older man that she was “unprepared to deal with at the time” (She was 14.)
Note the verse lyrics are very standard stuff for CSA victims to hear from their abusers:
If it weren’t for your maturity none of this would have happened
If you weren’t so wise beyond your years I would’ve been able to control myself
If it weren’t for my attention you wouldn’t have been successful and
If it weren’t for me you would never have amounted to very much
Then in the choruses, she speaks from her own perspective:
We’ll fast forward to a few years later
And no one knows except the both of us
And I have honored your request for silence
And you’ve washed your hands clean of this
Child Sexual Abuse is tricky and coercive yet for some it can also be alluring and ego-building at the same time. It is very messy business that confuses survivors, and often is not unraveled or fully comprehended until the victim is well into adulthood.
Thank you, Alanis, for your vulnerability and honesty on this topic. At the time you produced this, the world easily overlooked it and didn’t really pay any attention to the content, either because they didn’t understand or didn’t want to know as alluded to by the album title. But today, the world is ready for this message, and it’s time to bring it back and ramp things up. It’s time for facing some ugly truths and creating positive change.
So thank you for priming the pumps so long ago; and thank you for all you do today to set a healthy example of what healing looks like.
This is what survivors can do!
Strauss, Neil. “THE POP LIFE; Alanis Morissette Reveals Her Trials as a Teenage Star.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Feb. 2002.
Hardie, Beth. “Alanis Morissette Reveals She Was Raped and Abused as a Teenager.” Mirror, Mirror.co.uk, 28 Jan. 2012