"There were 2,000 people in front of me, and no one was listening or paying attention"
The ‘Without Me’ singer was praised after telling a crowd of 2000 people in New York that she had been sexually assaulted on several occasions. She also recalled how she accompanied a close childhood friend to an abortion clinic, after she fell pregnant as a result of rape.
Despite a video of the speech going on to score 10 million views within days, the singer says she felt deflated by the initial reaction from the crowd.
“When I did it, there were 2,000 people in front of me, and no one was listening or paying attention — if you watch it, there was barely even a cheer at the end. I felt defeated. I had written this poem, I thought it was going to matter,” she told The Times.
Instead, she explained that the speech only began to have a huge impact after it became widely viewed and shared on YouTube.
“I got on a plane straight after, back from New York to LA, and when I landed, I turned my phone on. The video had 10m views. I’m sitting at home reading about thousands of women’s experiences, which of course I’m absorbing, little empath girl. And that speech is still getting a response,” she said.
Explaining her own experiences, Halsey said during the original speech: “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, it’s 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, but 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?”
Elsewhere, Halsey recently discussed her own experiences of misogyny in the music industry. She will return to the UK for a massive arena tour next year in support of ‘Manic’, her upcoming third album.