In a new HBO documentary, Alanis Morissette comes forward as a survivor of statutory rape, saying it wasn’t until much later that she could process what happened to her as a child.
“It took me years in therapy to even admit there had been any kind of victimization on my part,” Morissette says in the film. “I would always say I was consenting, and then I’d be reminded like ‘Hey, you were 15, you’re not consenting at 15.’ Now I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re all pedophiles. It’s all statutory rape.’”
According to the Washington Post, this revelation arrives in the latter half of the doc, titled Jagged, after Morisette’s famous 1995 album. Morissette recalled the instances of abuse while discussing her early days of stardom, which began in earnest when she signed a record deal at 15. She said that when she’d tried to tell “a few people” about these sexual encounters, but she found that they weren’t interested in hearing it. “It would usually be a stand-up, walk-out-of-the-room moment,” she said.
“You know, a lot of people say ‘why did that woman wait 30 years [to report rape]?’” she continued. “And I’m like, fuck off. They don’t wait 30 years. No one was listening or their livelihood was threatened or their family was threatened.”
The Post helpfully (read: unhelpfully) clarifies that the age of consent in Canada was 14 when Morissette was a teenager, but it’s clear that Morissette feels she experienced a kind of violation.
Morissette doesn’t name any of her alleged assailants, and it seems unlikely that we’ll hear anything else about the allegations anytime soon: Morissette has declined to do press for the forthcoming documentary for “unspecified reasons,” the Post reports. It’s unclear as to whether her decision has to do with the statutory rape allegations she levels in the film.
Morissette alluded to other incidents of sexual harassment in the documentary, saying that there were only two possible endings to such encounters: Either she would never work with the person against, or “there’d be just some big secret that we’d keep forever.”