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Lindsay Ell Reveals She's a Sexual Violence Survivor, Finds Her 'Voice' With Emotional New Song

Lindsay Ell
Cody Heckber

Lindsay Ell

While Lindsay Ell is known for her open, introspective songs, the singer revealed a side of her on Tuesday (July 7) that's been hidden to her fans for a long time.

In honor of Global Forgiveness Day, the singer released a new song called "make you," in which she publicly addresses the effects on her life after being raped at 13 years old. "It's gonna make you hate yourself / When you didn't hate yourself at all / It's gonna make you build a fortress / Where you never had a wall," she sings in the accompanying video, where she's seen belting the lyrics while sitting cross-legged on the floor.

“Three years ago at a visit to help launch the music program at Youth For Tomorrow, I sat down in a conference room with a few girls aged 12-18 who had all been victims of rape or sex trafficking," Ell said in a press statement. "I shared my story, they shared their stories, and I was so inspired. Walking out of that room that day I knew the time had come to share my story more widely, otherwise I would be denying myself an opportunity to connect and help other girls or boys, like those in that room. It’s a very difficult thing to do, but an incredibly necessary thing to talk about. We don’t realize how much this stuff is happening in our own community, and that is partly due to not discussing it.”

In conjunction with "make you," co-written by Brandy Clark, Ell has also launched the Make You Movement, a charitable fund that aims to help organizations that support at-risk youth, domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors by provided funds on an as-needed basis. All proceeds from the song will be donated to the organization. The first partner receiving funds from Make You Movement will be The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

"I believe music has the power to heal. The reason I decided to share my story at this point in my life is that I want it to be able to help a lot of people; and the best way to help people is to not only raise my voice, but to raise money in an effort to raise awareness and understanding," she said. "I want to support programs that help girls & boys who may have been victims and support safety and prevention programs that aim to keep potential victims safe. Finally writing ‘make you’ has given me the courage to not let my past decide my future, so I am taking action in order to do just that. My hope is that my actions and song will inspire the same in others.”

"make you" will appear on Ell's upcoming album that explores the seven stages of grief, heart theory, out August 14. Pre-order it here, and watch the "make you" video, which represents the acceptance stage of grief, below.