Lauren Mayberry: ‘This is my life, my voice, my body, my rules, and no one gets to determine my narrative apart from me’
CHVRCHES’ Lauren Mayberry has always been a fiercely outspoken voice against misogyny, and rightly so. From publically calling out vile online trolls to sticking a middle finger up to sexist 4Chan users who have tried to slut shame her and shutting down some goon who shouted “marry me!” at one of her live shows, Mayberry has always responded in the most badass way possible. “I am not going anywhere,” she once wrote to a troll on Instagram. “So bring it on, motherfuckers. Let’s see who blinks first."
However, it’s not just abuse in the music industry that she has had to come up against, but abuse that she, and many others, have experienced in their day-to-day lives.
In the latest issue of Lena Dunham’s recently-launched women's newsletter Lenny, Mayberry opened up about a time where she found herself in an abusive relationship, in order to raise awareness as part of National Domestic Violence Prevention Month (October). In an essay titled My Life, My Voice, My Body, My Rules, the musician wrote: “He would pull me by my arms and wrists when he was frustrated and thought I wasn’t listening (and then say he was sorry). He would slam doors on me (and then apologize). He once grabbed at the steering wheel of my car when I was driving so we could pull over to “talk,” then shouted and beat his fists repeatedly on the dashboard when I didn’t stop the vehicle.”
“At the time, it felt like things changed slowly, like I woke up one day in a relationship and a reality that I did not recognize, but I’m sure the signs were there the whole time. When we met, he seemed charming. He was smart, passionate, creative, and caring. But after the first few months, he became increasingly paranoid, insecure, jealous, and depressed. Everything became my fault. I was careless. I was stupid. I was selfish. I was not trustworthy. I was a weak person who would fail at anything she tried so I shouldn’t bother. He hated me, but then he loved me and I was the best person in the world — until I wasn’t anymore.”
“How did I get myself into this situation? I am a smart person. I have always identified as a feminist, and I make good choices in most other areas of my life...I’ve had more than a few lucky breaks in my career and have mostly been in relationships with smart, kind, and interesting people who have treated me with care and respect.”
"A relationship can be deeply damaging without anyone leaving marks on you. So many people — especially young women — end up trying to maintain those emotionally abusive relationships because we don’t think it’s that bad and that we are really some of the lucky ones because we haven’t experienced “real” abuse. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence includes all of the following: “physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.” I thought I couldn’t be a victim because I am a strong, shrewd person, but there is no typical victim — almost 50 percent of American women and men experience some form of psychological aggression by a partner in their lifetime, according to the CDC."
At the end, she concludes: “I know that the boundaries I create deserve to be respected. That self-care is not the same as selfishness. That this is my life, my voice, my body, my rules, and that no one gets to determine my narrative apart from me.”
To read the essay in it’s entirety, subscribe to Lenny here
If you or someone you love is a victim of domestic violence, here are some places to seek help:
Broken Rainbow (LGBTQ—U.K)