Halsey's Women's March speech moved people around the world

One of the most moving moments from the Women's Marches ...

Posted: Jan 22, 2018 5:55 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2018 5:55 PM

One of the most moving moments from the Women's Marches that took over the country this weekend came when 23-year-old singer Halsey delivered a free-verse poem to a New York City crowd recounting her experiences with assault and feelings of powerlessness.

Her poem closed with strong words of hope and encouragement that triggered an outpouring of support and gratitude from around the world.

In her nearly five-minute performance, titled "A Story Like Mine," the Grammy-nominated singer recalled several moments when her life was changed by assault or abuse. The full transcript of the poem is below.

(Warning: The poem contains detailed descriptions of sexual abuse.)

It's 2009 and I'm 14 and I'm crying

Not really sure where I am but I'm holding the hand of my best friend Sam

In the waiting room of a Planned Parenthood

The air is sterile and clean, and the walls are that not gray, but green

And the lights are so bright they could burn a whole through the seam of my jeans

My phone is buzzing in the pocket

My mom is asking me if I remembered my keys 'cause she's closing the door and she needs to lock it

But I can't tell my mom where I've gone

I can't tell anyone at all

You see, my best friend Sam was raped by a man that we knew 'cause he worked in the after-school program

And he held her down with her textbook beside her

And he covered her mouth and he came inside her

So now I'm with Sam, at the place with a plan, waiting for the results of a medical exam

And she's praying she doesn't need an abortion, she couldn't afford it

And her parents would, like, totally kill her

It's 2002 and my family just moved and the only people I know are my mom's friends, too, and her son

He's got a case of Matchbox cars and he says that he'll teach me to play the guitar if I just keep quiet

And the stairwell beside apartment 1245 will haunt me in my sleep for as long as I am alive

And I'm too young to know why it aches in my thighs, but I must lie, I must lie

It's 2012 and I'm dating a guy and I sleep in his bed and I just learned how to drive

And he's older than me and he drinks whiskey neat and he's paying for everything

This adult thing is not cheap

We've been fighting a lot, almost 10 times a week

And he wants to have sex, and I just want to sleep

He says I can't say no to him

This much I owe to him

He buys my dinner, so I have to blow him

He's taken to forcing me down on my knees

And I'm confused 'cause he's hurting me while he says please

And he's only a man, and these things he just needs

He's my boyfriend, so why am I filled with unease?

It's 2017 and I live like a queen

And I've followed damn near every one of my dreams

I'm invincible and I'm so f***ing naive

I believe I'm protected 'cause I live on a screen

Nobody would dare act that way around me

I've earned my protection, eternally clean

Until a man that I trust gets his hands in my pants

But I don't want none of that, I just wanted to dance

And I wake up the next morning like I'm in a trance and there's blood

Is that my blood?

Hold on a minute

You see I've worked every day since I was 18

I've toured everywhere from Japan to Mar-a-Lago

I even went on stage that night in Chicago when I was having a miscarriage

I mean, I pied the piper, I put on a diaper

And sang out my spleen to a room full of teens

What do you mean this happened to me?

You can't put your hands on me

You don't know what my body has been through

I'm supposed to be safe now

I earned it

It's 2018 and I've realized nobody is safe long as she is alive

And every friend that I know has a story like mine

And the world tells me we should take it as a compliment

But then heroes like Ashley and Simone and Gabby, McKayla and Gaga, Rosario, Aly

Remind me this is the beginning, it is not the finale

And that's why we're here

And that's why we rally

It's Olympians and a medical resident and not one f***ing word from the man who is President

It's about closed doors and secrets and legs and stilettos from the Hollywood hills to the projects in ghettos

When babies are ripped from the arms of teen mothers and child brides cry globally under the covers

Who don't have a voice on the magazine covers

They tell us take cover

But we are not free until all of us are free

So love your neighbor, please treat her kindly

Ask her story and then shut up and listen

Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian

Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs

Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues

For the people who had to grow up way too young

There is work to be done

There are songs to be sung

Lord knows there's a war to be won

The poem's straightforward nature and its call to recognize the similar struggles of all women struck a chord with fellow celebrities and fans alike.

Halsey responded by saying she was thankful for the support but also "saddened" that so many others had a story like hers.

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