Vince Gill Bravely Reveals Childhood Trauma
It’s not often that we write stories that genuinely break our hearts, but this one does in so many ways, for so many reasons. Earlier this week, we were stunned to find out that Eagles newcomer Vince Gill was the victim of attempted sexual assault as a child, something he bravely shared in a room full of record executives after a lifetime of silence. The 21 time Grammy Award winner broke his silence before performing his song “Forever Changed” – a song whose lyrics focus on sexual assault from the perspective of a woman – live for the first time.
Gill, 60, shared that the attempted assault occurred when he was in the seventh grade, which would have put him around 12 or 13 at the time, at the hands of his gym teacher.
“I was in seventh grade, and a young, dumb kid,” he said. “I had a gym teacher that acted inappropriately toward me and was trying to do things that I didn’t know what the hell was going on.
I was just fortunate that I got up and I ran. I just jumped up and I ran. I don’t know why. I don’t think I ever told anybody my whole life. Even what’s been going on has been giving me a little bit of courage to speak up too.”
Quick thinking and an overwhelming sense that something was very, very wrong got Vince onto his feet and running like hell, but the damage was done; ashamed and confused, he held onto his secret for nearly five decades before the #MeToo movement that began in 2017 gave him the courage to speak up – no small feat, given that it’s extremely difficult for male survivors of sexual abuse and assault to come forward.
One of the country music world’s most celebrated songwriters, Gill began the difficult process of facing his experience in the best way he knows how: through song. He says it took “years to find the courage to record” “Forever Changed,” whose lyrics include the searing “You put your hands where they don’t belong and now her innocence is dead and gone”. Recording it is one thing, but one can only imagine what it took to perform this heartbreaking song live for the first time after telling his secret to the world.
Bravery. Pure bravery. Our hearts go out to Vince, and everyone who has unfortunately been affected by this horrifying experience – you’re braver than you know.