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Lindsay Ell Launches Charity for Sexual Trauma Survivors

Country singer-guitarist reveals she is a survivor of sexual assault in new interview

Country singer-guitarist Lindsay Ell has announced a new charitable foundation to benefit survivors of sexual assault and at-risk youth. The Make You Movement arrives with the release of a new song by Ell: “Make You,” off the Canada native’s upcoming album Heart Theory, is a vulnerable piano ballad inspired by her own traumatic assault.

Ell has pledged all proceeds from the song to her charity, which will launch with donations to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. In a new interview with People, the singer says she was raped when she 13 and later again at 21. In “Make You,” Ell addresses the range of emotions she felt after the assault and laments the loss of innocence. “It’s gonna make you question God and wonder if he even cares,” she sings. “Cause it’s so messed up, it’s so wrong, it’s just so unfair.”

“The song only talks about the first time,” Ell told People. “It’s just a difficult thing to talk about, and it’s something that I process every day still.”

Ell is intentionally releasing “Make You” and announcing her charity on World Forgiveness Day. In a statement, she praises music’s healing properties and says the song empowers her to not let what she’s endured negatively affect her future. “The reason I decided to share my story at this point in my life is that I want it to be able to help a lot of people; and the best way to help people is to not only raise my voice, but to raise money in an effort to raise awareness and understanding,” she says. “I want to support programs that help girls and boys who may have been victims and support safety and prevention programs that aim to keep potential victims safe.”

Heart Theory, due August 14th, is a concept album that explores the seven stages of grief. The LP is the follow-up to Ell’s 2017 debut The Project and comes on the heels of her Number One duet with Brantley Gilbert, “What Happens in a Small Town.”