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Schawayna Raie brings awareness to sexual, mental abuse

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No stranger to the local music scene, Indy native and vocalist Schawayna Raie is known for her first project, “Through It All” released in December 2010 and “No More Hiding” in 2013. While working on the launch of her record label and online talk show “Getting My Raie’s with Schawayna Raie,” the artist has found time to share her story.

Recently, Raie opened up to the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper about the powerful personal experiences behind her new song “Who Will Cry,” which highlights human trafficking and sexual and mental abuse.

Indianapolis Recorder: Where did inspiration for the song “Who Will Cry” come from?

Raie: I wrote the song years ago as I was physically molested when I was younger and suppressed emotions behind it. I remember it whenever I’m talking to someone, but as an everyday deal, I don’t. I do notice different aspects of my life where I see the effects through the things I do and decisions I make. I was molested when I was younger, and as an adult someone close to me offended me. They never physically molested me, but I felt emotionally raped because I looked up to this person as a father figure and they would come on to me constantly. I wrote the song from my younger self and from my adult experience.

Why was there a delay in the song release?

In 2011, I sent the song to my music manager so we could begin working on it but later I kept reminding him about the song. By this time we had put out a new album, but he never did anything with the song. In January I was on my way home and God spoke to me and said, “write these lyrics as a true survivor and if it makes someone uncomfortable, so be it.” I was in church at the time and didn’t want to make people uncomfortable. I rewrote both verses and kept the chorus and sang it to my manager and he said, “let’s get started.” I think he felt the song wasn’t ready or I wasn’t ready at the time.

You mentioned, being in church and not wanting to offend anyone. Do you believe this is a topic those in church don’t want to discuss?

Absolutely. This is a topic Black people don’t want to talk about. I think both white and Black churches feel so uncomfortable with this because much of it goes on in the church. Some people consider me a gospel artist and think we are only supposed to sing about happy things, but there are other parts of being saved.

What has been the community response to the song?

I knew it was going to be a very touchy subject, and I was afraid and nervous people weren’t going to receive it well, but I’ve had so many women contact me saying how much the song has meant to them.

Out of all of the issues women are facing, why a song about human trafficking and abuse?

It’s amazing how I got connected with human trafficking. I saw a documentary titled “Very Young Girls” and it honestly made me cry. I had no idea human trafficking was that extensive. I reached out to several organizations here to help spread awareness and many of them said they didn’t need help, which I found very odd.

Is there anything else you hope to achieve with this song?

I hope with this song the community can become more open to talking about abuse and human trafficking. In our community we’ve learned, “what goes on in this house, stays in this house” and what happens is, it closes the door for children to speak out. I feel like children should have a voice. You can’t tell kids “you have no voice” and as soon as they turn 18, say, “now you do.” They won’t know how to speak up for themselves. I tell my niece, if someone touches her inappropriately, she needs to tell someone, because I want her to feel empowered to share her story.

To listen to Raie’s new single “Who Will Cry?” or to get more information on the artist, visit SchawaynaRaie.com.

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