Content Warning: This article discusses about Kate Miller-Heidke sexual assault, and rape. If you or someone you know are affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Australian singer Kate Miller-Heidke has published a heartbreaking social media post sharing that she is a child survivor of sexual assault at the hands of her great grandfather. The musician went on to say that a song from her latest album is about how she felt when he died, saying she “wasn’t the first or the last” to endure the abuse.
Miller-Heidke began the heartwrenching post by saying that ‘You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore’ was about “dancing on the grave of an arsehole”.
‘You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore’ was originally released in 2020, but Miller-Heidke has released a new version featuring Jaguar Jonze. The singer explained the devastating story behind the song in an Instagram post and said that the issue is also explored in her new album.
“My latest album ‘Child in Reverse’ is about childhood. One thing that happened to me when I was a very young child (from the ages of 4-6) was that I was sexually abused by my great grandfather Archibald Barnes. He was a paedophile and a serial offender. I wasn’t the first or the last. (Although obviously my family didn’t know it at the time, and didn’t find out until some years later.),” she began.
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Miller-Heidke said that she wrote ‘You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore’ to describe how she felt when her great-grandfather, and abuser, passed away.
“This song is about how I felt when he died. Ultimately it’s a really empowering song to sing,” she wrote.
She added, “I think it’s one of the most powerful songs I’ve written, and it’s a privilege to sing it with Jaguar Jonze, who transformed the track with her potent raw energy.”
The singer referenced Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins, who are both sexual assault survivors, and have both been prolific in using the tragedy they suffered to raise awareness – and remove the stigma – surrounding the matter.
“I probably wouldn’t have been so open about this without the examples of Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins, but the most important inspiration was Jaguar Jonze, with whom I had a very deep conversation the morning this song was written. She described some very shocking things that happened to her as a child, and I felt very connected to her, and full of admiration for her resilience too – that’s when the song title ‘You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore’ popped into my head,” Miller-Heidke added in the post.
The post has been flooded with comments commending Miller-Heidke bravery for speaking out publically about the horrendous experience she endured.
“You are amazing Kate. Congratulations to you for reclaiming your power and doing it so openly. So proud to know you,” wrote Australian feminist writer, broadcaster and public speaker, Clementine Ford.
“Wow deep and powerful ❤️amazing and much love and respect to you both,” wrote Australia singer.
The move to collaborate with Jaguar Jonze on such a meaningful release is poignant. In an exclusive interview with The Industry Observer last year, the singer revealed that she too has suffered sexual abuse. Jonze told the publication that producers who assaulted her tried to use her music career as a way to try and coerce her.
“They would say stuff like, ‘Don’t upset your career. You don’t want to make it awkward for us working together in the industry. I just want us to all be friends. We just wrote a really awesome song together. We’re going to be able to have so much fun in the industry’.”
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Watch ‘You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore’ by Kate Miller-Heidke feat Jaguar Jonze: