Kinley Dowling will release a music video for her song “Microphone” the week of June 5. A launch performance will be held June 2 at 7:30 pm at Florence Simmons Performance Hall, 140 Weymouth Street, Charlottetown. Written by Dowling in 2015, “Microphone” is a song that depicts the night she was raped in a field at her prom party and has garnered significant press attention since it came out on her album Letters Never Sent as KINLEY in September 2016.
The video production team will release Dowling’s testimony of her assault as a companion piece to the music video at a local event in Charlottetown on June 2 and online the week of June 5. The testimony was recorded by Director Jenna MacMillan. The music video was filmed in Toronto, Ontario this past spring.
Before opening up to close friend and filmmaker, Jenna MacMillan, Dowling hadn’t told anyone the story of her assault in great detail. “I couldn't tell my parents. I only told a couple of close friends, even 15 years after it happened,” says Dowling. “Why was I covering it up? Why didn't I want to talk about it? Because it hurt my heart. Because I was violated. Because I felt I had no control over my own body. I felt dead inside.
“If someone could make me feel like this in just minutes and it could last a lifetime, I wondered: What is the point of anything? How can I truly be happy again without the reminder of what happened creeping back? Sex suddenly meant nothing to me. It’s just a thing people do. Love was not involved. This is the way I felt for many, many years.”
From the moment Dowling shared her story with MacMillan, her song “Microphone” would not leave MacMillan’s mind. She says she listened to the song on repeat for months on end. “I couldn’t shake the fact that she had kept it in inside of her for over a decade and how that must have impacted her every step,” says MacMillan. “Over the year that we worked together to get the video off the ground, we consistently heard horrific stories of sexual assault in the media—both nationally and internationally.”
Around the time of pre-production, the results of the “Unfounded” investigation were published in The Globe and Mail, which revealed that one of every five sexual assault allegations in Canada is dismissed as baseless and thus unfounded. Kinley Dowling and Jenna MacMillan knew the time was now to create the music video and reach as many people—especially young boys and girls—as possible.
“We wanted to weave as many of these courageous survivors’ stories into the video,” says MacMillan. “Our aim for the video is that it serves as a wake up call for our society that sexual violence is a systemic issue and we need to do better.”
Since talking about it and hearing other people’s stories, Dowling decided she didn’t want to hide what happened to her anymore. Instead, she believes: “We should be yelling about what happened. We should be holding people accountable and pushing it in their faces.”