Sunday, March 17, 2013

Traci Lords Revisits "Stupidville"

Actress/Singer and Writer Traci Lords was born in Steubenville, OH where she was the victim of a sexual assault at the age of ten.

Today: March 17th 2013 two football players living in Steubenville, OH were found guilty of raping a sixteen year old girl and sentenced accordingly.

By all accounts Steubenville, OH is very proud of it's "Boys Club" and the outcome of this trial is a victory.

The trial and national focus that was shined on it brought Ms. Lords back to the place she was all too happy to leave. She took her thoughts, feelings and opinions public via the media. As a fellow writer she expressed to me how one of the ways she got those feelings out was via her song "Stupidville".

Although the trial had an outcome in favor of the victim, rape is an experience that stays with the violated party forever. Sexual assault is a huge epidemic in the world with one occurring on an average of every two minutes...."Stupidville" indeed.

MS: Hi Traci, what was it like growing up in Steubenville, OH?
Traci Lords

TL: I left when I was about twelve years old, and was raped there when I was ten. Which, I think poisoned my mind. Rape is not something that you can really deal with at any age, it's extremely difficult. But when you are an adolescent dealing with the violence and dealing with that kind of an assault it really does something to your psyche. It completely shaped me, it gave me a lot of angst, I completely hated myself...doubted everything...I have no doubt that it influenced me going into my teens. With the normal things going on with being a teenager I turned to drugs, ended up being on the streets, doing porn, doing all those things because of the whole mind fuck that goes with all of it. You feel you're not worthy and you try to take the power back in whatever way you can. 

MS: Tell everyone about "Stupidville".

TL: This is not about me, I was so incensed by the recent incident in my hometown that I couldn't sleep. I write a lot in the  middle of the night, as a writer you can relate to this I'm sure.

MS: Yes, I can.

TL: It haunts you, it calls you, I wrote my feelings about the what was going on, how I felt it, and it became "Stupidville". The struggle was whether I once again wanted to stand up for this, you know this isn't something I have just now come out about. For the last 48 hours I've been reading things like "Look, she's finally stepping forward with these shocking allegations"...and you know what?! I've spoke of this twenty years ago, Hello?! I wrote a book about it...

MS: You also addressed it on your CD "Control" with the song "Father's Field".

TL: That was my first record in 1997 - I've been talking about being a victim of violent assault for twenty years! It's like, "No, I'm not jumping on any band wagon" I'm just so angry, that I realized my voice, because of who I am, people will tune in and they'll look for whatever reason. Just for curiosity, or maybe they want to mock my music, maybe see how well I've aged - the bottom line is: I don't care if they like me, I care if they hear me. This is a world wide sickness that is not going away, when you talk about this poor woman in India who got rape and murdered, her crime? Going to a movie with a male friend and affording a bus, it's not even human, what's going on?! Before we can even deal with the Global issue we have to deal with what's going on in our own backyard. For me what happened in Steubenville, OH really was my backyard. So, like a lot of artists do when I can't express myself anymore through words, I do it through my art. I am a singer, I am a writer, I am an actress, I am all of those things. That's where "Stupidville" came from, that's what the locals call it, that's pretty much what all of Ohio calls it. This is not directed at the good people of Steubenville, OH, there are good people there....and to them I say, "It's time for you to step up"! It's not about bashing the good people of Steubenville, it's there to remind them that this crap has been going on and it's been going on long enough, and it's time for them to do something about it!

Traci on "Piers Morgan Live"
MS: Like you stated "deal with what's in our own "backyard".

TL: We're dealing with "Baby Athletes" here that get a free pass, that get to do whatever they want because what can they do?! Oh, they can throw a fucking ball, are you kidding me?! They're the "jocks" the "untouchables" whatever they are, they're the ones who will go and pick on the little gay boy at school and nobody does anything. Then they wonder why the gay boy goes and does some hideous thing in retaliation, or God forbid hurts himself because he can't deal with it.

MS: I've always wondered whatever happened to parents being involved in their children's lives?

TL: That's what I'm talking about, whatever kind of violence is happening in schools, why are the parents not doing more?! 

MS: While I have no desire to be a parent, one of the things I find offensive in our current state of the world is I think parents don't think they have any fucking responsibility anymore.

TL: Ask me my greatest job in my life? Being a parent, I take it very seriously, I have an amazing five year old son. He is not accidentally amazing, I am not a rich woman and I don't have a nanny, I have put a lot of time in with him and we have a lot of conversations, the amount of work and energy that goes into raising someone who is conscious is insane, but so worth the while. There are people who have looked at what I am doing and saying: "Oh, look a slut talking about a slut", those are the people I am directing the title "Stupidville" to! That kind of mentality is what feeds the ugliness of our society, you can tell I'm really pissed!

"Stupidville" video

MS: I don't blame you, when someone does something to someone I love - male or female, my gut reaction is "Tell me who they are, I 'll kick their ass" but, do I actually do it? No, but I will defend people in the appropriate capacity. 

TL: When you start taking your children to the play ground and begin teaching them to play with others. You spend that time saying: "We don't hit other people, we respect other people, we are kind, use words to communicate" - we are supposed to teach that, why all of the sudden is that gone? 

MS: The verdict came in today on the Steubenville, OH rape trial, what do you think of it?

TL: Relieved at the guilty verdict. But don't think the punishment fits the crime! One and Two years. I hope this girl sues them in civil court.

Keep up with the developments on "Stupidville" when the single is officially released proceeds will be going to a organization to stop violence against women and others. For all the latest log onto:

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