Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has partnered with Youth Villages to open Janie’s House, a women’s shelter for abused women. He flew to Atlanta to attend the shelter’s opening with a “scarf cutting” just last week.
“Her dog day’s just begun, now everybody is on the run.”
Tyler wrote the Aerosmith hit “Janie’s Got a Gun” about child abuse and incest almost 30 years ago. It took him nine months to finish and was only able to complete it after reading a Newsweek article on gunshot victims. The song revolves around a girl named Janie who, obviously, takes revenge on her father after years of sexual abuse. Because of the song’s graphic nature, a few lines from Tyler’s original lyrics had to be changed for commercial purposes; “He jacked a little bitty baby” was originally “He raped a little bitty baby,” and the line “…and put a bullet in his brain” would sometimes altered to “…and left him in the pouring rain” when on the radio.
“Janie’s Got a Gun” is one of the few Aerosmith songs that deal with heavy issues. The song won the band a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1991, and was their first ever win. In an Instagram video Tyler posted during the scarf cutting, he said that the song always made him want to open a house that take cares of abused girls.
After nearly three decades and creating his own charity, he finally built the home. Janie’s House officially opened in Douglasville, Georgia last December 6. Tyler spoke to CNN about how a brief stint in rehab years ago allowed him to meet a handful of women who were in the center due to struggles resulting from abuse. “You can see in their faces and hear in their voices how broken they are,” he said. With the sudden overflow of sexual abuse allegations in the entertainment industry all around the world, the house stands as a part of the solution.
Being a father to three daughters and a son, Tyler was heavily involved in the project and even helped with the interior design. Janie’s House doesn’t only create a safe space for victims away from their abusers but will also provide therapy and other resources. “I can only speak from my own 12-stepness, which is to say when you have an ‘ism’ which you wish was a ‘wasim,’ you need therapy,” the singer said. “I’m hoping that they get some tools, some advice, some ways to work stuff out, some words of wisdom that they can then live by.”
Janie’s House is accepting donations for at-risk girls on their official website. Thank you for your efforts, Steven Tyler!
Featured image from Whiskey Riff
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