Grammys recap: Brooke Axtell and Katy Perry address domestic violence

Brooke Axtell took to the Grammy stage to talk about her experience with sex abuse and domestic violence. Katy Perry followed Axtell with a solemn performance of "By the Grace of God."

The woman who spoke movingly from the Grammy stage about her experiences with domestic violence says the segment was inspired by a visit to the White House by Grammy show producer Ken Ehrlich.

After President Barack Obama made a 2-minute video appearance on the show calling on musicians to pledge to stop domestic violence, Brooke Axtell took to the Grammy stage to speak about her own experiences. Her life was saved, she said, when she sought help at a domestic violence center.

“Authentic love does not devalue another human being. Authentic love does not silence, shame or abuse,” Axtell said in a spoken-word piece.

Katy Perry followed her with a solemn performance of "By the Grace of God."

As the Washington Post reported: In her 2012 piece, “What I Know of Silence,” Axtell describes the role art played in helping her recover from her experiences as a victim of sex abuse. A singer and poet, she has released three albums and two collections of poetry.

Art, she told Salon, is what made her a survivor, not a victim.

“When we express our creativity, we have the power to decide how we will relate to our trauma and the story we will tell about our lives,” she said.

Axtell said afterward that both she and Perry were honored by the opportunity to address the issue before such a large audience.

"We're at a stage in the movement for social justice where we are in desperate need of having male allies, and that means confronting within our own communities when violence occurs and making sure there are interventions for those who have abused and been abused," she said.

She noted she was aware both Rihanna and Chris Brown were in the audience when she spoke. Brown has faced a string of legal troubles since beating Rihanna before the 2009 Grammy Awards.

Neil Portnow, the recording academy's president, said neither Rihanna nor Brown was consulted before the segment aired.

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