Shania Twain talks 'whirlwhind' of sexual assault allegations: 'The floodates have opened'

By Chris Mejaski
November 24, 2017

Shania Twain has long used her voice to connect with fans through themes of empowerment, and she says she's encouraged to see women currently finding their voices when it comes to difficult discussions of sexual assault and harassment.

"It's just so overdue. Because the scenario's ancient," she tells our Danielle Graham in a new interview from Montreal, where she's preparing for the Grey Cup halftime show.

While a multitude of women have come forward in recent weeks with stories of alleged sexual assault by those in Hollywood power positions, Twain says the frustration has surely been building over a long time.

"So the floodgates have opened and we're feeling this whirlwind of expression about it. Which is important. It's just gotta come out. Everybody's gotta just come out from their fears. And that's a lot of what's prevented women from speaking out before. Fear."

The importance of treating women right is front and centre in Shania's song If You Wanna Touch Her, Ask! off her 1997 album Come On Over. But she tells Danielle her initial idea for the song was about a more specific act of indiscretion, and could have been called If You Wanna Touch Her Ass.

"I've always just been really offended by that, and it's usually the butt [that men grope]," she explains. "Because it's a discreet way to touch a woman and she has no defense because she can't see it coming. And there's nothing more insulting. "

While it's important to push through fear and speak out, Twain acknowledges the magnitude of courage it would take for a victim to do so.

"Because there are so many people that are affected by what you have to say," she says. "But you know what... it's not your problem. You gotta be able to say what you gotta say... If you're someone that's been abused, your problem is not being able to share it. That's a real problem. So I'm just glad this is happening."

Pushing through fear is advice she tries to follow herself, she says, even when it's difficult.

"Like anybody, I'm not immune to lack of confidence, or things that terrify me... I just push myself to face them. Otherwise they just eat you up and they stop you in your tracks," she says.

Wanting to share that message with others, she wrote Swinging With My Eyes Closed, for her hit album Now, released in September.

"Just because you don't know what's around the corner, or you can't see what's next, you can't let that stop you," she says. "You've got to have faith in your own strength... you gotta be fearless. As scary as it is, you just gotta take the plunge.

Watch etalk tonight for more with Shania Twain.

And don't miss her perform during the Grey Cup halftime show Sunday on TSN.