I’ve followed Delta Rae for many years now and with each track they release I fall more and more in love with their outstanding brand of country folk music. They’ve tackled subjects surrounding celebrating the memory of those who’ve passed away, forgiving who we were when we were younger and loving someone our whole life long. Today however they’ve tackled a subject matter that personally affected band member Brittany Holljes.
Their latest track, Hands Dirty, focuses on Brittany Holljes telling the story of her own sexual assault that happened to her when she was thirteen years old but she didn’t want the song to be about victimhood, instead the track envisions a future where the current state of misogyny is no more. The track is incredibly powerful with thought provoking lyrics, an emotive vocal display that will truly hit you hard and a mesmerising music video that compliments the track perfectly.
The world needs this song and the world needs more artists like Delta Rae. Beneath I’ve included Brittany Holljes’s open letter to the fans of Delta Rae about the track and her desire for her own story to drive people to the polls in the midterm elections and see a historic number of women put into congress. Read this letter as it is the honesty that is sorely needed in the modern era.
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Brittany Holljes’s letter:
I have seen the other side of the mountain
Where every queen will be afforded her throne
And I will stand beside my sisters
And all persistent resistors
They’ll say I knew it would come true
And I’ll say darling, Me Too.
I was sexually assaulted when I was 13. I won’t go into the details, even though I remember them and the trauma vividly. My adrenaline kicks in, even now, thinking about it 16 years later. When it happened, the first person I confided in was my friend Liz, who was like a big sister to me. She told me to tell my brothers, Ian and Eric, and they urged me to tell our parents. I did. A year later I dropped out of high school. I went to community college and graduated from UC Berkeley before eventually moving to North Carolina, into a big house in the middle of the woods with Ian, Eric, and Liz, and finding our rhythm section, Mike and Grant. That fall we started Delta Rae, and my whole life changed.
But, I can’t say I never looked back. I will never be able to forget the assault. My life changed then too. I was lucky to be believed and to have the support of my close friends and family. And I, like most women who say “Me Too,” didn’t quit on myself after the first assault or after countless other times experiencing misogyny, harassment or violence since. We just keep working.
My brother and I wrote “Hands Dirty” because women in America are doing just that every day – tirelessly working at our jobs, pursuing our education, running for office in record numbers in the 2018 election. We create beautiful art, raise children, start businesses, teach young people, save lives. We keep pursuing our goals as though nothing is wrong, but something IS deeply wrong.
One in three women have been the victim of sexual violence.* On top of what we are trying to accomplish as individuals, we are still fighting collectively to be seen as human beings. As equals. Women are not victims, but we have been victimized. But the even more complex truth is that it’s not just women who are being abused. One in six men also experience sexual violence, and the likelihood grows based on your economic status, race, sexual orientation, disabilities or whether you’re an immigrant.*
The real fight is not between genders. The fight is against institutional corruption that reinforces toxic masculinity and ignores or excuses sexual violence. That’s why we need to all rally together as a united front to dismantle a broken system and disrupt the status quo of government, corporate industry and popular culture.
Delta Rae is a band fronted by two strong women, and backed by four feminist men. There are people who look to Liz and me as role models, but there are days when I don’t feel strong enough to be a role model for anyone, when the shame and rage of my experiences as a woman threaten to overwhelm me. The show must go on, and it does thanks to our fierce fans, who give me back a belief in myself. But most women don’t get applause at the end of the day.
We are seldom told we’re powerful. In fact, we are often told the opposite from the time we are very young. Now more than ever – thanks in large part to the #MeToo movement – brave women have been raising their voices, creating new awareness of the old, ugly reality that many of us have known since childhood. We wrote “Hands Dirty” because we refuse to give up on the inevitable, equitable future. We believe that women will rise and claim our place as leaders in this world because the future is up to us – as women and for anyone who believes in equality. Women are not a monolith, we have diverse beliefs, but we all will benefit when women are in positions of power — representing our diversity of experiences and inspiring the next generation to further the progress.
This November, we have the opportunity to get an historic number of women elected. Let’s do it by getting an historic number of women voting in the midterms and beyond. Volunteer with Rock The Vote, HeadCount, Emily’s List or one of the many great organizations helping us to all raise our voices. Speak up about the causes that matter to you. Inspire your friends, coworkers, classmates, family and neighbors to vote.
If you’re ready for a change… Me Too. Let’s get our HANDS DIRTY.