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‘Don’t Silence Me’ music video aims to be anthem for survivors of sexual assault

A new video titled “Don’t Silence Me,” inspired by the #MeToo movement, debuted online Tuesday. Mhairi Morrison, a producer whose friend wrote the song after Morrison accused a French director of sexual assault, and Lili Bernard, who is featured in the video and accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, joined CBSN’s Elaine Quijano to talk about how the song empowers fellow survivors.  

“My intention with this video is to celebrate the resilience and bravery of the sexual assault survivors who have spoken out,” she said. “If the Cosby survivors had not come forward, if the Weinstein survivors had not come forward then I would not have had the opportunity to heal. That’s the power of speaking out.”

Morrison said the video depicts a journey of isolation and captivity to empowerment and freedom because it is what she went through herself and a story many survivors share.

The video begins with Morrison on a public bus holding a life-sized white and purple striped flag with the words “don’t silence me” written on it in bold letters. The video then cuts to Morrison alone with her mouth taped in what appears to be a prison cell. As the song plays, numerous women are flashed across the screen one-by-one lip syncing the lyrics. The video cuts to scenes of the women marching and dancing together in protest while placing sheets of paper in the street. The very end of the video reveals that the sheets of paper were being assembled to  spell out the words “don’t silence me.”

After hearing the song, Morrison decided to help produce the music video and spearhead a fundraiser to help cover production costs. The fundraising page became the first place Morrison shared her story publically, generating over $5,000 in support within a five month time frame.

Morrison said she kept the trauma buried until the #MeToo movement inspired her to come out as a survivor. She said she was sexually assaulted by a French director, saying she “drugged and woke up naked next to him.”

One of the women Morrison credited for helping her come out with her story was Bernard, an actor and visual artist who publicly joined dozens of women in accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault.

She not only provided Morrison with advice and words of encouragement, but she also agreed to participate in the music video. Bernard praised the video for highlighting the intersectionality of the #MeToo movement. She said the video shows rape has no regard for race, socioeconomics, appearance or age.

“I hope that this video will empower people, empower victims of sexual assault to speak out and choose whatever format they can to heal because music is one of the most effective artforms,” Bernard said. She added she hopes the video will also inspire change within the justice system.

“Music is a powerful tool and I hope…. it will influence the justice system to really take a close look at the voices of women and to believe victims,” she said.

Morrison said she wants the video to spark deeper conversations on sexual assault, not only within the United States, but also around the world.

“I hope it is a conversation starter at first with yourself,” she said. “That you can look back at things that happened in your life that you thought were part of the business….and see it in clear fresh eyes for what it might have been, assault or harassment. Start to look at things as they are and then you can heal and move on.”

Morrison plans to take the music video to London and Paris and host discussion panels on the film.

“My hope is for my four-year-old niece to grow up into a world where if something bad ever happened she would know that she has a voice and would not be afraid to use it,” Morrison said.