Dark-pop artist Zosia is many things – a singer, producer, songwriter and absolutely incredible musician, to name a few. Inspired by the philosophies of Isaac Asimov and Pythagoras, she describes herself as the spirit of her grandmother also named Zosia, a seamstress who fled Poland during World War II to achieve a better life. Zosia began writing songs at a mere age of nine, and as she matured into her early twenties, she began honing her own philosophy – one that reflected her growing need to create a sense of meaning. Her lyrics often embody focus on overcoming depression, anxiety and finding fulfillment, an empowering and rather impressive feat for a musician in today’s industry.
Zosia’s newest single, ‘Overthrown,’ is a perfect example of this growing need. ‘Overthrown’ was written as a result of her frustration with society’s treatment of sexual assault victims, to encourage others to change their perception of victims, and to help others heal and understand that abuse doesn’t have to be a permanent scar or a lifelong struggle.
Although Zosia is usually described among the genres of alternative and electro-pop with notes of rock, R&B, and trip hop, ‘Overthrown’ is a beautifully raw composition of synths, indie pop and electronic rock. It’s the kind of track to make you fall to your knees with emotion and treasure it for it’s vulnerability. Zosia took the time to answer a few questions about ‘Overthrown, the stigma around sexual assault victims and overcoming the emotions that followed her own sexual assault.
Q: Your new single, ‘Overthrown,’ is a stunningly poignant product of your frustration with society’s treatment of sexual assault victims. Can you elaborate on what kinds of negative actions society is showing towards victims that’s causing this frustration?
When I was younger I didn’t report instances of sexual misconduct, and I barely even talked about it. Looking back, I realize I didn’t think it was my place to say anything. Something about the way I was raised told me to stay quiet and ignore what happened. It’s hard to point to the exact cause of this, but the idea that victims should stay quiet has somehow perpetuated in our society. A few times I’ve felt ignored when trying to talk about my experience with assault, even by people I trusted. This was really the root of my frustration.
Q: Instead of these actions, how do you think society should be treating victims of sexual assault?
I’d like society to be more understanding and empathetic towards victims of sexual assault. We should all realize by now that misconduct has happened to almost everyone we know, so it’s important to be sensitive and patient especially when we find out someone is a victim.
Q: Do you think new legislation or additional action needs to be put in place in order for victims to get the justice they deserve?
I do think more legislation would help, like addressing the huge backlog of untested rape kits. The issue is that if there is no evidence (it wasn’t rape, it happened many years ago, etc.) then victims may not be able to get the justice they want. What I want to stress is that healing does not depend on justice or any outside influence. I want victims to realize their strength and stop letting others define their self-worth.
Q: You’ve said that vulnerability is just another form of strength – would you say that each builds up the other? How did you learn to surmount the stigma around vulnerability?
Definitely. To be vulnerable means you are opening yourself up in a way that may cause you harm. It takes so much strength to welcome judgment or pain and then learn from it and become stronger because of it. Fortunately, music is often a safe place to show vulnerability because it can help listeners connect. I love that music has the power to change the way society views vulnerability.
Q: Was writing ‘Overthrown’ your way of overcoming the shame and self-worth issues that followed sexual assault? Do you have any suggestions for those who don’t have an artistic outlet to help them overcome similar feelings?
It helped a lot, but overcoming shame and self-worth issues is a constant struggle for me. Writing ‘Overthrown’ put a lot of things into perspective and allowed me to look at the healing process differently. I am very grateful to be a songwriter because it has helped me through many difficult moments. I think everyone has their own form of expression that works for them. You don’t have to be an artist. I think one of the most important things you can do is write out whatever is in your mind to help understand your own thoughts. Also having a very honest conversation with someone – a friend, therapist or anyone who you trust. Having someone listen to you without judgment is very healing.
Q: Do you have any other advice or resources for other victims of sexual assault?
RAINN is a great resource for victims or anyone interested in learning more about the topic. There are many books and memoirs out there that I’ve found helpful. Have faith that this is temporary and being a victim is not a lifelong label.