RAYE‘s breakthrough song was all about “Escapism,” but her latest video is all about not being able to escape the scars left by sexual assault.
The video is for her song “Ice Cream Man,” from her album 21st Century Blues, and in the self-directed clip, we see her walking into a restroom and locking herself in a stall, sobbing on the floor as she relives her trauma. We only see her anguished face, but the song’s lyrics give a detailed account of her real-life assault by a music industry figure.
“I wish I could say how I feel/ how I felt/and explain why I’m silently blaming myself,” she sings. “‘Cause I put on these faces pretending I’m fine/ then I go to the bathroom and I press rewind in my head.”
When she steps out of the stall, she imagines — and we see — male hands groping her.
“I pushed it down but it was living in me rent free/And then I fell into some things that were unhealthy,” she sings. But finally, she realizes, “I’m a very very brave strong woman/And I’ll be damned if I let a man ruin/how I walk, how I talk, how I do it.”
A message at the end of the video reads, “When I experienced sexual assault and rape, I didn’t tell anyone…This evil has more power over us in the dark than it does the light. If I can encourage anything, let’s not bury it deep down inside us forever.”
RAYE told Rolling Stone about the video, “It was the toughest thing I ever filmed…[but]I just think you do have to go there…It’s tough, but it’s beautiful and it’s hard to listen to for me sometimes. But sometimes I need to listen to it.”
If you are affected by abuse and needing support, or know someone who is, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). You can also chat online at thehotline.org or online.rainn.org, respectively.
(Video contains uncensored profanity.)
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