Posted on Oct 31, 2019 in News

 Earlier this year a group of Queensland songwriters who have experienced sexual violence embarked on a journey to put their personal stories into song, creating the “You Can’t Take Me”. The album is available to listen to for free HERE but donations to the Women’s Legal Service Queensland are encouraged.

The five songwriters Deb Suckling, Melissa J Evans, Kendall Layt, Kali Blunt, Ilona Harker and visual artist Marsellus Wallace came together to share their stories with the assistance of counsellor Jan Logan,and created the songs to highlight the extent of sexual violence in our diverse communities. They also looked at how music and creation can assist in recovery and how speaking up about trauma can be the most important step in the road to recovery and taking back ownership of ourselves, our bodies and our minds.

Recorded over just two days – with the support of engineer Jeff Lovejoy and mastering by Paul Blakey – the group have created an album that is truly raw in all its musical truth.

The group also worked with other people who have experienced sexual violence who wished to use song to express their journey but also remain anonymous. Over a period of a couple of months – they shared their stories – sang together, wrote together and created the songs that you can now hear.

Project Manager and songwriter Deb Suckling who started the #NotOn initiative in the music industry says “This project, whilst being hugely confronting for each of us involved in reliving our experiences, is also so deeply important. The bravery shown by Kendall, Melissa, Carly, Ilona and Kali to be a part of this is so inspiring and we really hope to inspire others to tell their stories and hopefully this might help others in their journey and ultimately in their recovery. I have also had to confront my own past and with the support of these extraordinary artists – I have finally been able to tell my own story.”

Sexual violence is something that we just cannot continue to ignore in Australia. The statistics tell it all with 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men having experienced sexual violence, sexual assault, or threats from the age of 15. Recent statistics have shown that almost every 8 minutes a child from the age of 5 – 15 is sexually assaulted – sometimes leading to a lifetime of mental health, substance abuse and other ongoing issues. This walks alongside our horrific incidences of domestic violence with lives lost each week in our country.

But it’s also something that still remains hidden for fear of retribution, shame, fear, family protection and for many, many other reasons.

You can listen to the album here:

Video – You Can’t Take Me  –




  1. The Lost Forgotten Ones – Written and performed by Ilona Harker + BVs by Kali Blunt
  2. Just One Day – Written and performed by Kali Blunt
  3. Scarred for Life – Written and performed by Melissa J Evans
  4. You Can’t Take Me  – Written and performed by Deb Suckling
  5. Medicate – Written and performed by Kendall Layt + BVs by Kali Blunt
  6. Not Alone – Written and performed by Melissa J Evans + BVs by Deb Suckling
  7. Cracks Let in the Sun – Written and performed by Kali Blunt
  8. Don’t Put Her Down, You Helped Put Her There – Written by Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard. Performed by Ilona Harker + BVs by Kali Blunt
  9. Fuck You – Written and performed by Deb Suckling

This project has been supported by the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women as part of their Sexual Violence Prevention Grants program and Backbone Youth Arts.