Belfast Telegraph

Alanis Morissette: I was vilified and shamed for writing song about rape

Hands Clean tells the story of an underage girl and an older man.

Alanis Morissette says her song Hands Clean was about rape (Yui Mok/PA)
Alanis Morissette says her song Hands Clean was about rape (Yui Mok/PA)

Alanis Morissette has said she was “vilified and shamed and victimised and victim-attacked” after she penned a song about sexual assault.

The singer said the best case scenario was when people just ignored her track Hands Clean from her 2002 album Under Rug Swept, which is framed as a conversation between an underage girl and an older man.

The lyrics say: “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.”

She told Self magazine: “I was just talking about Hands Clean yesterday and how some people know what that song’s about and other people just don’t know. Just singing along and I’m like…that’s the story of rape, basically.”

She added: “The people who were addressing it at the time, they weren’t being very supportive.

“Still now, women are sort of being supported. It and I were just straight-up ignored at best.

“Vilified and shamed and victimised and victim-attacked at worst.

“There were moments where around the #MeToo era where people would say, ‘Why are people waiting so long to speak up?’ And I was like ‘Really?’

“But then also I lovingly reminded a couple of them ‘Oh, but you do remember me saying something 15 years ago, right? Word for word about this and do you remember what happened during that time?’”

Morissette, who is pregnant with her third child, also spoke about her experiences with postnatal depression, saying she has a plan for tackling it after she gives birth.

She told the magazine: “Not singularly relying on myself to diagnose myself is key.

“Because the first time around I waited.

“For me I would just wake up and feel like I was covered in tar and it wasn’t the first time I’d experienced depression so I just thought ‘Oh, well, this feels familiar, I’m depressed, I think.’

“And then simultaneously, my personal history of depression where it was so normalised for me to be in the quicksand, as I call it, or in the tar. It does feel like tar, like everything feels heavy.”

She continued: “I have said to my friends, I want you to not necessarily go by the words I’m saying and as best as I can, I’ll try to be honest, but I can’t personally rely on the degree of honesty if I reference the last two experiences.”



From Belfast Telegraph