Every day last week, we have been posting little Arctic postcards on Instagram and Twitter, featuring lines from our single Fault Lines, along with an explanation of the lyrics. The idea is bring discussions about rape myths and rape culture to the foreground, while the beautiful scenic images of the Arctic will hopefully alleviate the sombre tone of the topic. This journey has revealed some unexpected sources of inspiration for our song, including Eminem and old legal cases from the 1980s. Here is the series:
Day 1: Your father’s car
This song was inspired by several incidents but these lines in particular were inspired by the story of Rehtaeh Parsons, the teenage girl who was photographed while she was sexually assaulted at a party. She later hung herself. A similar story happened in the Steubenville High School rape case. Much of the discourse around these cases focused on protecting the young accused males, who had promising futures.
2. Rick Ross
In 2013 in Ottawa, university students protested the booking of rapper Rick Ross to perform at their year-end party, arguing that his latest single U.O.E.N.O. promoted date rape. The song goes:
put Molly [slang for a drug] all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it
i took her home and i enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it
Rick Ross said his song wasn’t about rape, because he never used the word rape.
His show was eventually cancelled.
Day 3: Games to be played
These lines continue to refer to the stories of “good old boys” (junior hockey stars, college football players, sons of respectable professionals) getting involved in sexual assault cases, making problematic people’s notions that the bad guy always looks like a bad guy – a dark figure, lurking in the shadows with a creepy smile.
Day 4: These broken legs
This is inspired by personal stuff, but the broken legs line was, weirdly enough, was inspired by an excerpt from Dr Dre’s Forgot about Dre featuring Eminem:
I’m harder than me trying to park a Dodge
when I’m drunk as fuck
right next to a humongous truck in a two-car garage
hoppin’ out with two broken legs
trying to walk it off
I don’t necessarily condone the violence in the song, but I thought the imagery of walking on broken legs to be powerful.
Day 5: The girls you’ve destroyed
In 2014, the University of Ottawa suspended its hockey team after reports that some of players were involved in a sexual assault of a student during a hockey trip in Thunder Bay, prompting discussions about rape culture on campus and why these harmful behaviors seem like a game to some people.
Day 6: Forced to smile
Is it harmless to tell a woman you are passing on the street to smile? A lot of people see how it could be street harassment. But if you don’t know her, you have no idea what she has been going through. You don’t whether she feels like she has something to smile for. Why should she smile for you? Is the purpose of her existence to entertain you? Stop telling me to smile.
I read an article somewhere talking about however how every woman lives on a fault line because they are always at risk of sexual violence. Has anyone seen this article? I can’t find it again. I found it to be such a powerful line.
Day 7: Incredible miracles
In 1986, a woman who is known to the public as Jane Doe was raped at knife point in her own Toronto apartment. She sued the Metropolitan Toronto Commissioners of Police for failing to protect her, as it was discovered that the police was aware of a serial rapist but did not warn the women at risk because they wanted to catch him in the act. Jane Doe v. Metropolitan Toronto Commissioners of Police became an important legal case where the judge found that the police owed her a duty of care, which they failed, and also found that the police did not take the crime of sexual assault seriously, as they were motivated by rape myths and sexist stereotypes about women.
I would love to have the strength and courage of Jane Doe, who fought for her rights under the harsh critical public eye. I have so much admiration for the women who fight these terrible injustices every day, despite the terrible things that had happened to them.
Day 8: Learn to walk
Emma Sulkowicz was raped in her dorm room, and when her complaint was dismissed by the university, she decided that her thesis project would be a performance art piece called Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), where she would carry the mattress where she was raped on her back, as a powerfully symbolic gesture on campus until her rapist is expelled.
I find her willingness to be so open about her personal experience to be courageous, and her ability to keep on living, thriving, and making art to be so admirable and inspiring.
I wanted my song to end on a hopeful note, one of strength and determination to survive. What has been done to you does not define everything that you are. You are so much more than a victim. You have so much to live for.
Also, you are not alone.
In other news, we made it to the national round for CBC Music’s Searchlight contest for Canada’s Next Best Artist! We are so thrilled to be representing Nunavut against bands from across the country. There are only 23 bands left, and next week there will be only 10. Don’t forget to keep voting for us!
A huge thanks to the ladies at Iqaluit-based Finding True North for interviewing us and the other regional finalists for CBC Music’s Searchlight contest for Canada’s Best New Artist. You can read about it here
“A duo from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut who beautifully blend shoe gaze and dream pop soundscapes and are led by Gloria Gun’s indelible vocals. “The Longest Night” ft. Avid Napper is a night-time synth-pop landscape, vivid and cool, showcasing Gun’s vocals against atmospheric electronic and restrained beats.”