P.E.I. singer/songwriter Kinley Dowling is honoured to be receiving many messages from people about their experiences with sexual assault after she shared her personal story on her debut solo effort — Letters Never Sent.
Dowling's song Microphone calls out a man who she says sexually assaulted her after her prom 15 years ago.
After Dowling's told CBC her story last week she thought about staying inside that day. She went out instead.
'A couple of them told me that "I never told anyone but after hearing your song and reading your story I'm ready to open up."' — Kinley Dowling
"I saw like a bunch of people I knew and they were like, 'Oh my god great. I'm so proud of you. This is great news. Thank you for doing this.'"
'Really tragic stories'
She's received a lot of emails and Facebook messages from people she's known throughout her life saying they've had similar experiences.
"Really tragic stories. But I couldn't believe how many of them there were. A couple of them told me that 'I never told anyone but after hearing your song and reading your story I'm ready to open up' and I was like 'Wow, OK, this is a good thing.'"
Dowling said it was hard talking about what happened, but writing the song has helped her move on, even many years later.
"I never really knew how to deal with happened and I only told a couple of my really best friends. And we were young. We didn't know what to do."
'You can move on'
"It took me 15 years to write this song and I wrote it in about 15 minutes. Most of the songs take months or years to write. But this one just like flew out of me and as soon as I wrote it I felt so relieved and so good. And I definitely felt stronger and like I had worked through it somehow," said Dowling.
Dowling encouraged other people to talk about their experiences.
"As soon as you get get it out of you, you can move on from it. It's really an amazing feeling."
"I really think that the only way to get over something like this is to let it out of you. I know so many people, myself included that just kept it inside for so long and it's not healthy at all and if we talk about more we can stop it," said Dowling.
No response to email
Dowling sent the song to the man in an email — she said doing so was actually her mom's idea.
"I couldn't believe that I did it. I don't know what came over me, but I just like found his email and I pressed send and it was gone and I have never looked back. I felt great about it. And yeah I feel strong."
She said she hasn't received a response.
Dowling said she has always been nervous when Hey Rosetta! — the band the 33-year-old plays the fiddle, percussion and sings backup for — would play a show in the city where the man lived.
Her lyrics tell him she's no longer afraid.
And if you come to my show I think you should know
I'm gonna call you out for the the rest of my life
You are smeared on my mind
I've got a microphone
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