Shania Twain has never been one to shy away from talking about her difficult upbringing. She hopes that sharing her experience will help others.
The country singer has previously opened up about her childhood poverty. She’s also spoken about the fatal car crash that killed both her parents when she was only 22. She was left to raise her siblings following the accident.
In addition, Shania now revealed that she suffered from sexual abuse by her step-father, Jerry, when she was about ten. She told the Guardian:
“I feel the sexual abuse goes hand in hand with the physical and psychological abuse when it’s somebody you know. I learned to block it out. Abusers need to manipulate you, whether it’s before or after, and what I said to myself is, ‘OK, there’s something wrong with this person and that person is not well.’”
Although the 52-year-old knew that something was very wrong with what was happening, she chose to stay so her family could be together:
“I did feel sorry for myself a lot as a kid. It was either go to Children’s Aid and get saved now … I weighed it up and thought, ‘If I go to Children’s Aid, we’ll all get separated,’ and I just couldn’t bear that, so we all stayed together for better or for worse.”
In the end, Shania’s troubled upbringing is what led her to a career in music. She wrote songs as a means of escapism:
“I wanted to escape. [From] everything. Violent home. Tensions. Nothing to eat. When you’re hungy you can’t do anything about it but distract yourself from the hunger. And it really works. It’s therapeutic. A lot of kids play with dolls and I played with words and sounds.”
The Grammy Award winner feels it’s important to talk about such experiences to impart a message of survival:
“I’m not going to go into details about it. I don’t mind saying it, because I do think it’s important that people understand you can survive these things.”